David Murray Book Collecting prize 2022: the winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered the 2022 competition. It was great fun reading your entries and each student this year had a passionate story to tell about their personal collecting journey. From a highly competitive field, we invited four students to make a virtual presentation to the judges to tell us more.

Each one had winning merit, but – after much deliberation – the judges agreed once more to award the prize jointly. Our two winning entries are very different in ethos and content, and yet both share a vision of building a cultural legacy for the future that the judges found impossible to resist.

Shona Holmes for Scottish Country Dance Books: A collection.

Some of Shona’s Scottish country dance collection

Shona is a student of linguistics with a passion for country dancing. She is in the process of amassing a personal archive of pocket books, dance manuals, ceilidh dancing books and ephemera related to Scottish country dancing. The judges were impressed by the focus and organisation of her collection, which even extended to index cards for accessing information about individual dances (were the librarians in the judging panel influenced by this? Possibly!).

The genesis of her collection lies in a legacy of country dancing, inherited from her grandmother who danced in Perthshire as a child when evacuated to Strathallan Castle. The collection has grown considerably since then, much of it passed on from other members of the dancing community. The collection acts both as a legacy to the past and an inspiration for the future, as Shona uses the material to help her write dance programmes, in teaching dancing, and even in devising her own dances. As Shona herself says of her collection:

“This collection represents the better part of five years of dancing, teaching, and devising. Started from a few books passed on to me by my grandmother, this collection has grown to become both a resource and an expression of my passion for Scottish country dancing. The collection also reflects the wider Scottish country dance community without whom this dance form and its history would not be preserved. I hope this collection will continue to grow as I continue to dance and that one day it might be passed on to a future generation of Scottish country dancers.”

Shona Holmes

Sydney Paige Guerrero for Philippine Mythology Komiks

Sydney is completing a masters in fantasy literature. Her nascent collection of Filipino comics (better known as ‘komiks’) is driven by the desire to fill a gap in archiving this genre, which might otherwise be lost forever. The judges found this vision to preserve a part of her own cultural heritage compelling, and were eager to support a collection in its early stages.

Sydney Paige Guerrero’s Filipino Komiks

Sydney’s current collection consists of a small number of volumes  from some of the most successful series such as “Trese” and “Ella Arcangel”. As Sydney explained in her submission, many komiks are ephemeral in nature and many are self published, or available only online to print out or produced in small numbers to be sold at specialist conventions, making the collecting itself a considerable challenge:

“Most of these komiks magazine began to die out during the 90s as readership declined, with the public’s attention shifting to television and radio (Jurilla). Komiks creators turned to self-publishing, which later became the norm, and the number of printed copies as well as its distribution became largely dependent on the creator’s means and reach. Even Trese, perhaps the most well-known komiks series which also received a Netflix adaptation in 2021, began with black-and-white photocopies that were printed only 30 at a time and sold for less than a dollar each (Ortiga) … most printed komiks, still photocopied and held together with staple wire, were lost to time, just as the komiks magazines were, and this needs to change. Despite the rise of online platforms for komiks creators such as PenLab, many komiks creators still opt for print and sell their komiks during small conventions such as Komiket. As such, if we cannot retroactively begin a collection, then we must start collecting those komiks now.”

Volumes of “Trese” from Sydney’s collection

Many congratulations to Shona and Sydney! The Friends of Glasgow University Library have, on this occasion, generously augmented the prize fund. Our winners will therefore both receive £350 to spend on their own collections, as well as a year’s membership of  the Friends of Glasgow University Library. The judges loved your ambitions to preserve two different cultures via your collecting. We hope you enjoy spending the prize money and that it helps realise some of your collecting dreams and wishes.

The David Murray Book Collecting Prize is made available through a generous donation and is open to all currently registered students of the University of Glasgow. You can read more about it and find out about the winners of previous competitions from the prize website.

Categories: Archives and Special Collections, Library

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