BRADFORD’s Museums and Galleries Department will play a leading role in a major new national project to link collections of all of the UK’s industrial heritage and make them more accessible to the public.
The Congruence Engine Project is one of five National Collection Discovery Projects, an ambitious five-year £ 14.5million initiative funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The Congruence Engine project will use the latest digital techniques to connect an unprecedented range of items from collections held in different locations, including Bradford’s own textile collection, bringing them together to tell their stories and share their secrets with the general public in museums, in publications and also online.
Digital researchers will work alongside professional and community historians and curators to connect the history of textiles, energy and communications in one place.
A piece of neighborhood history arrives at the Bradford Museum
It will use computational and AI techniques – including machine learning and natural language processing – to create and refine datasets, provide routes between records and digital objects such as scans and photographs. opening up their role in the past for all to explore and enjoy.
The survey is the largest of its kind to be undertaken to date, anywhere in the world. It spans across the UK, involving 15 universities and 63 heritage collections and institutions of varying scales, with over 120 individual researchers and collaborators.
The Bradford Museums and Galleries Textile Collection is referred to as a ‘Collection of National Significance’ and is the largest collection of combed textiles in Europe. Items in the collection date back to the 1850s and include thousands of textile samples, photographs held in the Bradford Photographic Archives, as well as machinery housed at the Bradford Industrial Museum.
Bradford was once known as the ‘Wool Capital of the World’ producing some of the finest combed fabrics used to make bespoke clothing like suits.
In addition to exploring the district’s ancient industrial heritage, the project will also make connections to its more recent history, including workers from the 1960s and 70s who came to the district primarily from Pakistan.
The project, which also includes the Association for World Heritage Education of Saltaire as one of the partners, will link the Bradford textile collection with other textile collections as well as the broader industrial heritage of the whole of the world. UK.
Councilor Sarah Ferriby Bradford, Executive Member of the Healthy People and Places Council, said: “We are delighted to be part of the grand national project to bring the country’s rich industrial heritage to life. The textile collection held by our Museums and Galleries department is second to none and this opportunity to link it to other collections across the UK will allow us to discover more about the rich and varied past of the district and to open it up. on the world.
The University of Bradford has also been chosen as a partner in the Unpath’d Waters Project, another of Towards a National Collection’s discovery projects.