Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland and North America is runner up in the Katharine Briggs Award 2015

We’re delighted to hear that David Atkinson and Steve Roud’s edited volume: Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland and North America is the runner up in this year’s Katharine Briggs Award.

The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award is an annual book prize established by the Folklore Society to encourage the study of folklore, to help improve the standard of folklore publications in Britain and Ireland, to establish The Folklore Society as an arbiter of excellence, and to commemorate the life and work of the distinguished scholar Katharine Mary Briggs (1898-1980; Society president 1969-1972).

Here are the judges’ comments about the book:

“A wide-ranging, masterly study of the complex interface between street literature, in the form of printed broadsides, and folk song as performed in nineteenth century Britain, North America and Ireland. An important contribution to debate on the relationship between printed and oral popular culture.”

Street balladsIn recent years, the assumption that traditional songs originated from a primarily oral tradition has been challenged by research into ‘street literature’ – that is, the cheap printed broadsides and chapbooks that poured from the presses of jobbing printers from the late sixteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. Not only are some traditional singers known to have learned songs from printed sources, but most of the songs were composed by professional writers and reached the populace in printed form. Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America engages with the long-running debate over the origin of traditional songs by examining street literature’s interaction with, and influence on, oral traditions.

Contents:  Introduction, Steve Roud; Was there really a ‘mass extinction of old ballads’ in the romantic period?, David Atkinson; Birmingham broadsides and oral tradition, Roy Palmer; The Newcastle song chapbooks, Peter Wood; Forgotten broadsides and the song tradition of Scots travellers, Chris Wright; Welsh balladry and literacy, Ffion Mair Jones; Ballads and ballad singers: Samuel Lover’s tour of Dublin in 1830, John Moulden; Henry J. Wehman and cheap print in late 19th-century America, Norm Cohen; ‘I’d have you to buy it and learn it’: Sabine Baring-Gould, his fellow collectors, and street literature, Martin Graebe; The popular ballad and the book trade: ‘Bateman’s Tragedy’ versus ‘The Demon Lover’, David Atkinson; Mediating Maria Marten: comparative and contextual studies of the Red Barn ballads, Tom Pettitt; ‘Old Brown’s Daughter’: re-contextualizing a ‘locally’ composed Newfoundland folk song, Anna Kearney Guigné; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Editors: David Atkinson is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, UK. Steve Roud is an independent scholar in the UK.


‘Here is a very important book for anyone who is interested in the origins and evolution of folk song. …essential if you have any interest in this subject.’   English Dance and Song Magazine

‘This is a well-balanced collection, exhibiting throughout the results of careful research, drawing considered conclusions. Ballad studies are thriving, and it is a welcome addition to the field.’   Folk Music Journal

‘The essays are detailed and informative – I learned a lot from them … Street Ballads takes a large step beyond the pieties of authenticity that have often constrained scholarship on ballads, and it provides a model for future investigations into the complex histories of a tantalising cultural form.’   SHARP News

User Experience training for librarians

  • Do you really know your users?
  • Do you want to find out what they really need?
  • Do you want to find out what they are really doing?

For some time now interest has been growing in a set of research methods that are far more revealing and detailed than surveys. What is more they’re far more interesting and fun for our users to engage with too. Under the banner heading of UX (User Experience) these methods can help us gain a far greater understanding of how our users study and research in the 21st Century.

UXLibs-in-a-day is a highly practical and interactive workshop which explores User Experience (UX) research methods and applications which can be used to uncover what our users really need and do. Participants will have the opportunity to try out many ethnographic approaches for themselves, evaluate application in their own libraries and gain crucial insight into the kind of rich data they can derive. They will also be exposed to idea generation and design-thinking methods and consider the value of divergent as opposed to convergent thinking. After a very successful pilot day at CILIP HQ, Ashgate author Andy Priestner is now offering five more practical and intensive day-long UX  workshops at which you’ll learn these methods and their applications first-hand. If you’re interested then sign up for the first workshop in Cambridge on Saturday 28th November or register your interest in attending one of the other workshops taking place in Copenhagen, London, Maynooth (Ireland), Newcastle and Birmingham in the coming months


‘Engaging, innovative, inspiring. Makes me want to go back and do this!’

‘A very useful and practical session that focused on real-world methodologies rather than the purely theoretical and conceptual. Andy is a great presenter – very professional and effective.’

‘Really positive, worthwhile and usable. Inspired to try lots of techniques back at work. Thank you! One of the best training workshops I have attended.’

Failing that, pre-order the book, coming out in Spring 2016, User Experience in Libraries by Andy Priestner and Matt Borg

PRIESTNER JKT(240x159)pathAnd don’t forget to look at Andy’s last book:

Personalising Library Services in Higher Education  by Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley

Triumph and Disaster: Medals of the Sun King at the British Museum.

Three hundred years ago the seventy-two year reign of the Louis XIV (1643-1715) came to an end at Versailles when he lost his battle with a gangrenous leg. Museums and galleries around the world are celebrating this important anniversary with exhibitions that showcase fine and decorative arts of every media commissioned, collected, and inspired by the Sun King. The British Museum’s modest offering Triumph and Disaster: Medals of the Sun King is, to my mind, the most important of them all.

9781472460332But why should we be looking at medals, when there so many wonderful Louis-Quatorze palaces, gardens, paintings, sculptures and tapestries to marvel at? For the majority of museumgoers commemorative medals, with their esoteric allegories and terse inscriptions, probably look like the oversized coins of an outmoded currency; they are the things you glance at quickly on the way to finding something more seductive. Yet in my book, Antiquarianism and the Visual Histories of Louis XIV: Artifacts for a Future Past published by Ashgate this September, I argue that medals provide the key to understanding the best-known images and objects that were produced to decorate the Sun King’s palaces.

Medals were at the center of a long-standing project sponsored by the king to document his reign for posterity. They were made in imitation of the ancient Greek and Roman coins from which early-modern antiquarians gleaned information about the past. Louis XIV’s image-makers designed medals to transmit historical information to a future audience, and so they are the ideal objects for us to reflect upon this anniversary year.

The project to document the history of Louis XIV visually aimed to control the future reception of the king’s legacy, to ensure that he would be remembered in a positive light. The exhibition at the British museum reveals a fundamental flaw with this strategy, however. Counter-propaganda medals made in Holland, included in this exhibition, use the same overblown imagery created to celebrate Louis XIV to vilify him. This ‘war of medals,’ as it has been called, shows us just how potent these diminutive sculptures were once deemed to be, with the Dutch working to set the record straight in the same medium designed to ensure the Sun King’s immortality.

Little did those working to construct these historical identities of Louis XIV realize that the fashion for medals would not last.

Today medals occupy an equivocal space in museums, placed in sculpture departments in some, but under numismatics in others. The latter is a distinguished but rarefied discipline – the province of collectors and connoisseurs – where the study of medals and coins has coalesced. Too rarely are these miniature masterpieces brought to the attention of the academy or the public. I hope that my study and Triumph and Disaster: Medals of the Sun King at the British Museum will help to rehabilitate these fascinating little objects, and encourage people to look at them again with fresh eyes.

Robert Wellington is a lecturer at the Centre for Art History and Art Theory, Australian National University. His book, Antiquarianism and the Visual Histories of Louis XIV: Artifacts for a Future Past is available now.

The exhibition Triumph and Disaster: Medals of the Sun King runs at The British Museum until November 15th. Entry is free.

Museums Association Annual Conference and Exhibition

The Museums Association Annual Conference & Exhibition is just around the corner and this year it is taking place at the ICC in Birmingham from 5th-6th November.

The Museums Association Annual Conference & Exhibition is the largest event of its kind for museum and heritage professionals in Europe with over 1,500 attendees from all over the world coming together to discuss the key issues affecting the sector.

9781472446152.PPC_PPC TemplateAshgate author Helen Chatterjee will be speaking about university partnerships and no doubt mentioning her new book Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education

Helen and co-editor Leonie Hannan discuss the use of museum collections as a path to learning and a new new pedagogy for higher education.

‘How can objects in museums and elsewhere be of value in higher education? This book is an invaluable, much needed extension of our understandings of object-centred learning into the tertiary level. Its thoughtful case studies demonstrate the role of objects – of myriad kinds – and multisensory, experiential engagements with them, in inspiring and enabling university students.’

Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester, UK

A small selection of Ashgate books will be on display at the Taylor and Francis exhibition stand. Delegates will also benefit from a 30% discount on selected highlights from our Museum Studies list. If you’re attending, look out for the flyer in your packs.

For anyone who can’t attend in person, you can still take advantage of the 30% conference discount when you order through our website and use the promotion code A15JVB30.

Browse our Museum Studies, Heritage and Cultural Management highlights and don’t forget to quote the discount code A15JVB30

2015 Transport Geography Dissertation Prize awarded to Sam Comber

Posted by Katy Crossan, Senior Commissioning Editor, Geography

We are pleased to announce the winner of the Royal Geographical Society’s Transport Geography Research Group 2015 undergraduate dissertation prize, sponsored by Ashgate, is Sam Comber from the University of Birmingham for his dissertation ‘Assessing the Impacts of Rail Investments on Housing Prices’. This research evaluates home-buyers’ willingness to pay for rail investments using the example of the Crossrail intervention in Ealing that will improve the Great Western Main Line’s service provisions. The judges were impressed with the advanced statistical approach and overall methodology which went ‘well beyond those normally seen in undergraduate geography dissertations’ and felt that the dissertation overall was ‘extremely high quality’.

Ashgate’s Transport and Mobility book series is run in conjunction with the Transport Geography Research Group.

New Series Announcement and Call for Proposals for Ambiances, Atmospheres and Sensory Experiences of Space

Posted by Katy Crossan, Commissioning Editor for Geography

New Series Announcement and Call for Book Proposals:
Ambiances, Atmospheres and Sensory Experiences of Space

Series Editors: Rainer Kazig, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble, France, Damien Masson, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France and Paul Simpson, Plymouth University, UK

We are currently seeking book proposals for research monographs and edited collections which engage with the key questions outlined below.

Research on ambiances and atmospheres has grown significantly in recent years in a range of disciplines, including Francophone architecture and urban studies, German research related to philosophy and aesthetics, and a growing range of Anglophone research on affective atmospheres within human geography and sociology.

This series offers a forum for research that engages with questions around ambiances and atmospheres in exploring their significances in understanding social life. Each book in the series advances some combination of theoretical understandings, practical knowledges and methodological approaches. More specifically, a range of key questions which contributions to the series seek to address includes:

  • In what ways do ambiances and atmospheres play a part in the unfolding of social life in a variety of settings?
  • What kinds of ethical, aesthetic, and political possibilities might be opened up and cultivated through a focus on atmospheres/ambiences?
  • How do actors such as planners, architects, managers, commercial interests and public authorities actively engage with ambiances and atmospheres or seek to shape them? How might these ambiances and atmospheres be re-shaped towards critical ends?
  • What original forms of representations can be found today to (re)present the sensory, the atmospheric, the experiential?  What sort of writing, modes of expression, or vocabulary is required? What research methodologies and practices might we employ in engaging with ambiances and atmospheres?

For further information please contact the Series Editors, Rainer Kazig, Damien Masson and Paul Simpson.