Peel Workshops go online

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Peel Workshops

A series of introductory workshops 

Take a moment to discover something new in the rare book library!

Students who have participated in Peel Workshops in the past have found it deeply rewarding to hold special rare books in their hands and to learn from the material objects themselves. When COVID restrictions are lifted, we look forward to being able to once again welcome students to the Peel classroom (the Ernie Ingles Reading Room) for "hands on" workshops. 

In the meantime, we are pleased to offer a small selection of some of our most popular workshops online in January-February 2021. They are listed below with links to online registration. Please login using UALBERTA ID to register.


Tuesday January 26th @ 3-4pm

Where Do Our Ideas about Witchcraft Come From? 

Presenters: Robert Desjardins (Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research) and Linda Quirk (Bruce Peel Special Collections). Explore very early ideas about witchcraft by learning about an especially rare (and sinister) fifteenth-century manuscript. The book itself is a beautiful—if tattered and damaged—example of the luxury volumes produced for the wealthiest princes in late medieval Europe. The book’s contents, by contrast, are vile. They testify to the ways that intellectuals, fired by good intentions and emboldened by institutional power, have sometimes arrived at truly inhumane conclusions. This workshop is an opportunity to learn a little bit about the manuscript materials housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections and to get a closer look at one of the best known and most  studied. Register here.


Monday February 1st @ 11-12n

The Canadian Mob of Scribbling Women

Presenter: Linda Quirk (Bruce Peel Special Collections). The first generation of Canadian women to work as professional authors were a generation of influencers on a scale that had not been seen before and has not occurred since. Derided by some of their contemporaries as “a mob of scribbling women,” these authors changed Canada profoundly, grappling with a wide range of issues from education to health care and from nationalism to colonialism to racism. They were outspoken in their demands for legal rights for women, animals, children, and the working poor. Workshop participants will see images of important early editions and consider the power of the pen when it is in the hands of the first Indigenous person in North America to become a best-selling author, the first Canadian woman to be employed as a full-time journalist, the foremother of Asian-American writing, and the animal-rights activist who penned the first Canadian novel to sell over a million copies. Register here.


Wednesday February 3rd @ 2-3pm

Reading Between the Lines: Representations of Indigenous Peoples in Print Collections

Presenter: Linda Quirk (Bruce Peel Special Collections). Print materials—published and unpublished, text and images—offer us access to histories and ideas that are best understood in context. Who made the photograph and why? How does a print object reflect the community that produced it? What relationships had a role in its creation? The history and culture of Indigenous peoples that we find represented in books and photographs has often been produced by non-Indigenous persons to serve purposes that are separate from (and even in direct opposition to) the interests of the Indigenous individuals and communities they represent. In this workshop, we will examine a variety of rare materials using research methods from the field of book history in order to consider what we need to know to be able to read between the lines. Register here.


Thursday February 11th @ 10-11am


Presenter: Andrea Korda (Fine Arts & Humanities, Augustana). In this workshop, participants will learn about the various technologies and materials that make up the history of photography. While today we are used to seeing photographs widely reproduced and disseminated, early photographs were precious objects that presented unique challenges for those who sought to circulate them. By examining both well-known and more obscure photographs with guidance from Professor Korda, participants will consider the possibilities and the limitations of the many different photographies found in Bruce Peel Special Collections. Register here.


Tuesday February 9th @ 1-2pm

Caring for Your Collections

Presenter: Carolyn Morgan (Bruce Peel Special Collections). Many of us have personal or family collections that include books, documents, photographs, or scrapbooks that we wish to keep for our enjoyment and that of future generations. How can we protect our treasures from damage and deterioration caused by handling and the environment? Workshop participants will learn from Peel’s Conservator about many possible risks and will get practical ideas to help safeguard your collections for future generations. The workshop will also be very useful for students who work or volunteer in small or specialized libraries and archives. Register here.

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