The University of Newcastle, Australia

The GLAMX Lab – offering new skills to students from across the University

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The GLAMX Lab offers the opportunity for students to learn hands-on skills to students and increase their employability.

Each day you can find students from a range of disciplines on Work Integrated Learning (WIL) or volunteering in the GLAMX Lab. GLAM stands for galleries, libraries, archives and museums and The GLAMX Lab offers the opportunity for students to learn invaluable digitisation and other cultural sector skills designed to improve their employability.

‘GLAM’ stands for Galleries, Libraries Archives and Museums, an accepted term in the cultural sector.

The lab was set up in 2017 as a digitisation space and an extension to the Cultural Collections section of the University Library. The lab has the facilities to digitise any form of human expression.

Artefact Conservation Atelier is a smaller Lab containing a 3D scanner, reflective 3D scanning light box

Caption: Artefact Conservation Atelier is a smaller Lab containing a 3D scanner, reflective 3D scanning light box (2019), University of Newcastle (Australia). Courtesy UON.

Some of the lab’s larger projects include the digitisation of the NBN Television archives, where hundreds of hours of historic audio-visual footage from 1962 to the present are being digitised. The lab is also home of the Deep Time project, a virtual archive of the collection of Aboriginal artefacts found in 2009 on the old Palais Royale site in West Newcastle, where the current day KFC stands.

GLAMX has captured the interest of a range of community stakeholders willing to volunteer their time and work alongside our students to achieve projects. For example, past NBN employees are assisting to digitise news real footage, and the IT Innovation team have contributed their skills in virtual reality visualisation for the Deep Time project.

3D scanning (alignment process) Aboriginal artefact for Deep Time project

Caption: 3D scanning (alignment process) Aboriginal artefact for Deep Time project, (2019). Courtesy UON.

The lab operates as a dynamic team environment in which staff, students and a wide range of experts share their knowledge and skills to digitally preserve primary source materials for the university and wider community to access.

Students from the humanities, sociology, geology, communications, business and law have worked in the lab, benefitting from the hands on opportunities it offers.

GLAMX Lab Coordinator, Dr Ann Hardy, said the lab is space for students to apply their knowledge gained during their undergraduate degrees.

“We welcome all students from all disciplines. We do an initial job interview with them to see what their interests are and talk about what projects we have that they can work on to build their skills,” Ann said.

“The lab is a dynamic space as our projects are always changing. Our projects respond to the community’s needs.  Students pick up skills such as teamwork, the use of digitising equipment and software, curation, metadata identification, research and writing.”

Bachelor of Arts Program Convenor, Dr Erin McCarthy, says the hands-on opportunities the lab offers to students are invaluable.

“The lab gives Bachelor of Arts students a new kind of hands-on learning experience that I think we sometimes imagine to be exclusive to the sciences. They can try methods and make things that reach a wider audience within and beyond the university. At the same time, though, it helps them hone skills that have always been fundamental to humanities research: analysing and interpreting evidence, applying relevant theories, and communicating findings in a variety of ways.”

Dr McCarthy says working at the lab gives students the opportunity to develop a range of broadly applicable skills.

“They gain experience working with material evidence and artefacts, following established processes, and creating original multimedia content. But they also develop project management skills and learn how to manage their time, work in teams and adjust for unexpected delays.”

The former Deputy Head of School (Teaching and Learning) of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Associate Professor Jesper Guddal, says it is vital students have access to the practical experiences that the lab offers.

“The job market is undergoing rapid change, and it’s crucial that arts graduates not only have in-depth knowledge of their field, but also advanced skills in critical thinking, communication across a range of media, and digital technology. GLAMX provides cutting-edge expertise in digital skills for the arts sector, for example in digitization, virtual reality and 3D scanning and visualisation. Being familiar with these technologies will be increasingly important for students about to enter the work market,” Guddal said.

“The GLAMX team is very open and collaborative, and if you have an idea or an enquiry, I’d suggest contacting them!” he said.

Contact Ann Hardy for more information.

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