First Woman to be part of a Formula 1 pit stop team – Louise Goodman

Louise Goodman; from the series First Women UK by Anita Corbin

Louise Goodman is known as one the first female faces of Formula 1, having been involved in motorsport media since the late 1980s and becoming a familiar sight along the Formula 1 pit lane. Her first appearance was in the 1988 Mexican Grand Prix through PR duties with Camel, then a Formula 1 Sponsor. Following this, she was the Press Officer for Leyton House Formula 1 Team, before heading the Communications department at the Jordan Grand Prix Racing Team between 1992 and 1996. She rose to fame as a pit lane reporter for ITV when they had the rights to show Formula 1 races in the UK between 1997 and 2008. She was also active behind the wheel, competing in several rally races. Now, she has her own media company, Goodman Media, and continues to present at ITV for the British Touring Car Championship.

Image Courtesy of

Louise Goodman became the first woman to take part in a Formula 1 Pit Stop in the 2006 British Grand Prix when she was in charge of taking the rear left wheel off Tiago Monteiro’s car, whilst he was driving for Midland. This was for an ITV feature which took a closer look at the car and the mechanics, and so Louise decided to be involved in a pit stop directly. Originally, she trained with Honda for several months and was supposed to take off Jenson Button’s rear left wheel, but a week before the race, she received a call saying Honda had changed their mind about including her in the pit stop. Luckily, she contacted Midland (who were previously Jordan Grand Prix) and they accepted. Incidentally, Button never made it to his first pit stop as he suffered an oil leak. Formula 1 cars can be very different across manufacturers, so she had to retrain on the Midland M16 car in just one week. Goodman was undeniably nervous – things could easily go wrong, and she did not want to let the team down. Working on the technical side of motorsport is fast-paced and the importance of functioning as one body in the team is imperative. Monteiro’s pit stop was brief and successful.

Louise Goodman (far right) taking off Monteiro’s wheel and satisfied with a successful pitstop. Courtesy of F1TV.

Throughout her career, Goodman has managed media coverage for multiple car manufacturers, sponsors, and drivers, including Mika Hakkinen, Martin Brundle, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello, and more. Back when she started in the 80s, media coverage for Formula 1 was considerably a lesser affair, with perhaps one or two people responsible for PR and media. Since then, media coverage has grown considerably and so have the racing teams. However, the number of women is still relatively low. Whilst she was a pit lane reporter with ITV’s Formula 1 coverage, she worked alongside James Allen, Ted Kravitz, and Martin Brundle – names which are still connected to Formula 1, yet she was the only woman in the core media team. Traditionally, women in motorsport were involved more in marketing and press operations, although recently, there have been more women involved in the technical side. But is the number of women in motorsport high enough?

Louise Goodman interviewing Fernando Alonso, then at Ferrari. Courtesy of

Picturing today’s Formula 1 grid, it is obvious that this is still a male-dominated sport. The first woman to compete in a Formula 1 Race was Maria Teresa De Filippis in 1958, whilst the last one, at the time of writing, was Giovanna Amati in 1992. Lella Lombardi remains the only woman to score points in Formula 1 in 1975. Other women have participated as test and development drivers. Most notably, Scottish driver Susie Wolff tested in 2012 with Williams, the first female appearance in a Formula 1 race weekend in 22 years, and Jamie Chadwick in 2019, again with Williams. Chadwick later won the W Series championship three years in a row. The W Series is the all-female single-seater racing championship counterpart to Formula 1. Yet, this year’s championship was cut two-races short due to financial difficulties, indicating that unfortunately, this championship does not have enough interest to generate the amount of budgeting and sponsorship that Formula 1 attracts. The W Series has also received backlash from opponents who argue that rather than encouraging the admission of female racers in established series, this championship is segregating women.

Ultimately, for more women to be involved in motorsport, there needs to be a bigger push from an earlier age. Most women involved in motorsport have family connections. The majority of drivers, men included, start their careers thanks to parents who take them karting at a young age. Yet not many parents would think of taking their daughter go-karting. On the technical side, the mechanics are chosen from some of the best available, and unfortunately, the pool is still very male-dominated. HESA reports that in the 2020/21 academic year, 20% of engineering students in Higher Education were female [1]. In addition, WES reports that women make up 16.5% of the people employed in engineering roles in the UK [2]. Although increasing, there is still more to be done to encourage equal opportunities in engineering and STEM across the genders.

Women like Louise Goodman are essential to encouraging more girls to develop an interest in motorsport. Together with Susie Wolff’s Dare to Be Different organisation, Goodman has been involved in the FIA Girls on Track initiative which aims to promote all the different roles that are available in motorsport. It helps young women experience motorsport and increase their confidence. Hannah Schmitz, Red Bull Racing’s current Principal Strategy Engineer is an example of how women can get to the top spots of motorsport with dedication and confidence. Working in motorsport, and especially succeeding at its pinnacle in Formula 1, requires hard work and commitment; it becomes a way of life with races during weekends, all over the world. Nevertheless, it can be an extremely rewarding career and it is inspiring to see these successful women, despite their low numbers.

First Women is now open at the Wardlaw Museum and the Laidlaw Music Centre.

First Women UK by Anita Corbin. 100 Portraits of 100 First Women to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote, created by photographer Anita Corbin over a decade and launched in 2018.

Written by Sharon Pisani, Visitor Services Facilitator and PhD student in the School of Computer Science of the University of St Andrews

[1] What do HE students study? (2022) HESA. Available at:
[2] Useful statistics (2022) Women’s Engineering Society. Available at:

A Guide to Exhibit

Libraries and Museums at the University of St Andrews have been doing digital differently. With the rapid digitisation of collections for teaching and research, we sought to find new and innovative means of making these collections accessible to our audiences. The result of this was the Exhibit visual storytelling tool, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and developed by Mnemoscene and the University of St Andrews.

Exhibit is designed to promote engagement and learning with digital collections by offering a unique visual experience for users. It can be used to present both 2D and 3D objects, and offers audiences the chance to get up-close and personal with collections. Audiences can take their time with each object, uncovering detail and creating a unique digital experience – one that could not be replicated in person.

Powered by IIIIF technology used globally, Exhibit allows diverse audiences to offer their own interpretations of collections on an international scale.

How do I use it?

Exhibit uses the Universal Viewer and is compatible with IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework). In simple terms, IIIF is an open standard for delivering high-quality digital objects. A manifest is created for each object which can then be imported into Exhibit, presenting high resolution images and 3D models.

Institutions with IIIF enabled collections can present objects in Exhibit, pulling through the relevant attributions and copyright information in the same manifest. This means that objects from multiple institutions can be used in Exhibit. For example, objects from the University of St Andrews can be viewed alongside material from The British Library, to compare and contrast collections.

While it may sound complicated, all you need to do is:

  • Copy and paste the manifest URL – usually available from the collections online database – of your chosen objects into Exhibit and you’re ready to start putting together your Exhibit.
  • Once your chosen material is imported to your Exhibit, you can add text, zoom in on images and rotate 3D models. The flexibility of the tool allows you to guide the viewer through each aspect of the objects you wish to showcase.

Exhibits can also be widely shared by the URL, linked to on social media and can be embedded into websites.

Ways of storytelling

Exhibit offers a variety of ways to showcase your chosen objects.

  1. Kiosk

Kiosk mode allows you to leave your Exhibit on a loop. You can decide how much time each slide is on show for, making it an ideal tool for digital displays or exhibitions.

  1. Slides

Slides mode offer a new alternative to traditional modes of presentation, with a sleek design and seamless transition moving through slides.

  1. Scroll

Scroll mode lets you scroll through the Exhibit, providing a platform to showcase material in a way which is user friendly for desktop and mobile users alike.

  1. Quiz
    The new quiz function means you can use quizzes throughout your Exhibit for even more audience-object engagement. You can make multiple choice questions on each slide, as well as creating pinpoints on the object itself

Teaching and assessment – what’s possible?

Originally designed and used for online teaching and seminars, Exhibit continues to be used in assessments. This has ranged from Exhibits on chosen topics, to visual analysis exams.

The tool allows such assessments to be conducted remotely and securely, as Exhibits can be password protected. As a result, the tool has become a key feature of the core assessment for teaching modules. Exhibits can be duplicated, meaning an Exhibit can be copied and expanded on further by students.

Thinking outside the box

The ability to think and programme outside the box with the Exhibit tool has been one of its key strengths. Alongside object showcases, guided views of maps and interactive displays, Exhibit has been used in an Escape Room experience – using the quizzes function to get participants thinking about how they progress to the next test, with the collections holding the secrets.

Another unique use of Exhibit we have piloted is our Headspace programme. Run online during revision and exam periods by our Learning and Engagement team, Headspace guides the viewer through an artwork, employing mindfulness techniques to encourage engagement with collections in a way that could not be replicated seeing the artwork in person.

Our key takeaways from this work are:

  • Working collaboratively across departments – the combined expertise of our teams has led to unique interpretations of how the platform can be used. Better still, having input from different teams at the development stage.
  • Set objectives and learning outcomes for your online experiences just as you would in person, and ensure they guide you in the development stages.
  • To design the experience with the platform in mind – rather than simply trying to replicate an experience you have in person on the platform. By manipulating the possibilities of the platform and letting them guide you, stronger digital offers can be developed.

Written by Eilidh Lawrence, Learning and Engagement Manager and Lydia Heeley Digitisation Officer, Libraries and Museums, University of St Andrews

Marble Preservation Society

Detail of Ilana Halperin, Chaos Terrain, 2022, Courtesy of Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

Artist Ilana Halperin has completed a new sculptural commission for the Harry and Margery Boswell Collection of Scottish Contemporary Art. 

Halperin (b.1973) is an American, Glasgow-based artist whose work is characterised by a sustained interest in geology, bringing an intimate human poetics to the measurement and comprehension of deep time. She is intrigued by all manner of rock formations and likes to approach her work in an incremental way that mimics the longitudinal nature of landmass formation. 

Through collaboration with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) involving geo-walk field trips around coastal St Andrews and one-to-one conversations about current SEES research on planetary geology and diamondiferous landmass, Halperin has become interested in the chemical compound calcium carbonate which makes up common materials such as marble, coral and seashells. Calcium carbonate has an ancientness as well as an intimate, micro-biological aspect; it shows us how to combine geological time processes with lived experience. For Halperin, the research process and making is always as significant if not more so than the final outcome (though we are delighted she has produced such an exquisite art object for our Collections!) 

For this particular project, she has become interested in the idea of the preservation, or, as the artist puts it, the long-term care of past life species encouraging future care in turn. Halperin decided to embark on an ambitious sculptural artwork for the Boswell Collection which combines laser engraving on Scottish Ledmore marble with a calcium encrusted coral specimen from our Oceans Institute.

Detail Ilana Halperin, Chaos Terrain, 2022, preparatory drawings for laser drawing on Scottish Ledmore Marble, courtesy of Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

To make this sculpture, Halperin has salvaged three large marbles from a local St Andrews stone mason Watson’s and Sons. Once upon a time, these marbles formed a fireplace in a student hall of residence. This ties the artwork to the site specificity of St Andrews University and encourages us to each ‘save a marble.’ The artist tells us Ledmore marble is now primarily used for aggregates, so the chance to salvage intact samples of marble can be seen as part of the mission of the Scottish Marble Preservation Society!

Halperin spent time at local Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio, laser-engraving the polished marble with a series of markings which were then inlaid with ochre soil from James Hutton’s farm, another tangible link to the founding of the discipline of Geology with the very ground of Scottish landscape. The soil sample was ground up in SEES laboratories, pulverising it to make a fine powder that could be more easily adapted into ink. The mark-making was inspired by looking at the patterns found in trace fossils during her coastal walks. ‘Trace Fossils’ are geological records of the activities of past life such as footprints or burrows captured in the paleontological record. (Trace fossils are not to be confused with body fossils that preserve the actual remains of a body such as bones or shells).


Detail of Ilana Halperin, Chaos Terrain, 2022, Courtesy of Patricia Fleming, Glasgow

Halperin also sent a coral specimen from the Oceans Institute on a five month ‘residency’ to the rapid calcifying springs in the Fontaines Pétrifiantes in France. This mode of accretion or culmination is a key technique for Halperin (and she has previously coated other geologic materials such as terracotta in such stalactite-like substances to provoke a new kind of conglomerate through artistic process). The limestone encrusted coral specimen was retrieved from France in September before being placed on the marble shelves to complete Chaos Terrain.

The title ‘Chaos Terrain’ is a term borrowed from planetary geology and serves as a visual metaphor for enmeshed landscape features which feels appropriate for a sculpture that is loaded with meaning. Chaos Terrain is going on immediate display in The Bute building, next to the Bell Pettigrew Museum inside a ‘curiosity cabinet’ in the heart of SEES on Tuesday 8 November 2022.

Dr Catriona McAra is editor of Ilana Halperin: Felt Events (2022).

With very special thanks to Dr Claire Cousins and Dr Sami Mikhail.

Storytelling at the Wardlaw Museum

Shared stories, whether spoken, written, sung or filmed are what give a sense of place, history and belonging. Having originated as a holy site for pilgrims to visit the relics of St Andrew, allegedly buried at the cathedral in medieval times, the town of St Andrews has sustained and developed its ongoing global significance through education, discovery, sport and religion. This historic town has thousands of stories to tell, many of which can be uncovered right here in the Wardlaw Museum.

The Lilac Fairy Book (1910) Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: Lan PR4876.L5F10

St Andrews’ Wardlaw Museum acts as a vessel for storytelling. Visitors can expect to learn about the foundation, traditions and innovations of Scotland’s oldest university and its students as they traverse through the galleries. Among the displays are documents of Willa Muir, a St Andrews graduate who translated over 40 books, including the works of Franz Kafka. An accomplished linguist and novelist, Willa Muir’s works were an important part of the Scottish Renaissance literary movement which pursued an exploration of identity and engaging with social and political issues. However, literature is not the only way in which stories can be told.

Our display of 70 archery medals highlights the competitive side of St Andrews students in an artform that was popular from the 1618 to 1754 but has now fallen out of favour. Each medal is unique and when displayed collectively shows an important part of the University’s history exemplifying how traditions have developed and waned over the course of 600 years.  

Whilst the museum itself focuses on storytelling, the Wardlaw also celebrates two renowned writers who acted as rector: Scottish author of Peter Pan, JM Barrie, and Monty Python member and Fawlty Towers creator John Cleese. Here lies proof that storytelling and imagination are so powerful they can lead to great honour, fame, and responsibility!  

Installation of J M Barrie (May 1922) Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: ms37069/55
Bronze Statue of Peter Pan (1913) Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: HC801

Undoubtedly, there are innumerable ways to communicate stories, particularly considering the long and varied past St Andrews has as a center of religious reform, education and innovation. As the old saying goes ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ and one of the most striking pieces on permanent display is the painting of the murder of Archbishop Sharp. Opie’s striking painting depicts a dramatic retelling of a gruesome murder just outside of St Andrews in 1679, as part of the long running rivalry between Presbyterian and Catholic religious groups. The dramatic and elegant framing of an otherwise violent scene shows how stories can become distorted by different viewpoints and even recontextualised by societal change.  

‘The Death of Archbishop Sharpe’ by John Opie, (1797) Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: HC2008.9

Sometimes simply examining an object may unlock scientific insight and discoveries which help interpret our understanding of the world we live in. Galleries two and three showcase some of St Andrews University’s feats in scientific innovation and discovery.

Conversely, storytelling sometimes comes through cautionary tales, such as those surrounding colonial collecting (from which the Wardlaw is not exempt). As museums became popular in the 1700s, many European explorers raced to fill them with interesting objects and unfamiliar specimens. Unfortunately, this practice was not sustainable or particularly ethical, damaging ecosystems and causing uproar throughout affected communities. Fortunately, steps are being taken to research and recontextualise certain objects, particularly through Wardlaw’s Recollecting Empire exhibition, which addresses key themes and objects which represent the presence of colonialism and empire within the museum.  


Hahoe Mask. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: HC2001.16

Interpretation is an important part of museum curation, telling the stories of individual objects to understand Scotland’s collective history and understand how these tales have helped shaped the nation today. Visit Scotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ presents the opportunity for every part of Scotland to tell its story and capture imagination.  

Wardlaw museum offers two different Smartify tours which can be enjoyed within the museum or at home. One, essential St Andrews and the other Collections highlights tell the stories of key objects from the museum’s vast collection. Don’t forget to get involved and share your own stories through #TalesOfScotland on social media! 

Smartify | Collections Highlights

Smartify | Essential St Andrews

The Bell Pettigrew Museum is open

Which is the oldest museum you’ve ever been to? Have you ever been inside a teaching museum? The University of St Andrews has an active teaching museum: its natural history museum. The Bell Pettigrew Museum was opened in 1912 and still houses a vast collection of specimens and instruments. The museum has been a teaching museum since Edwardian times, and students and staff can still visit to observe the artefacts. The museum is also open for public visits over the summer, Autumn and Spring holidays. 

A skeleton of a camel besides a display of scientific instruments © Sharon Pisani

James Bell Pettigrew was a Professor of Anatomy at the University of St Andrews and was a pioneer of early flying machines. His seminal work, Animal Locomotion: or Walking, Swimming and Flying, influenced future naturalists and informed his invention of an early flying machine. He died in 1908, and it was actually his wife, Elsie Gray, who founded the Bell Pettigrew Museum after his death. James Bell Pettigrew served as curator of the University’s natural history collection which was moved into this museum after it was completed.

Mosaic floors welcome visitors to the museum © Sharon Pisani

Located in the quaint St Mary’s Quad, the whole building is rather special. Upon entering, I stepped onto the mosaic floors which welcomed me and gave me a sense of being in another world, unlike any other building in St Andrews. Through the interior wooden doors, mounted heads of deer, elk, and other herbivores make up the first striking grand display. I immediately felt like I had gone back in time to the early twentieth century as I walked amongst the museum’s traditional displays and cases.

The collection is vast; there are fossils, skeletons, and embalmed animals, but also scientific instruments, drawings, and photographs. The sheer level of organisation of such a collection is striking. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are full of specimens, neatly labelled, and sorted according to their place in the animal kingdom. Many of the specimens are of Victorian origin, some in their original jars with handwritten labels, adding to the historical charm of the place.

Displays in the museum showing skeletons and stuffed deer, herbivores, and fish © Sharon Pisani

One can easily spend hours observing the collection, but for those a little bit tighter on time, the Smartify app includes two fifteen-minute audio tours, one highlighting extinct animals, and the other about animals of Scotland. I listened to the latter one, and as I stood in front of the animals and learnt about them, I couldn’t help but remember other times when I had seen these animals during my time in Scotland.

I remembered the windy day in June when I had taken the ferry to the Isle of May and gazed in wonder at the hundreds of Atlantic Puffins standing on the cliffs. I spotted many diving off the rocks and feeding on a variety of herring and fish, sometimes indulging in five or six at one go.

I remembered the cold, rainy day, when driven by a desire to get into the Christmas spirit, I took the bus to the Scottish Deer Centre where a Christmas market was being organised. Nothing could make me feel like I’d stepped into a Christmas card more than watching deer, elks, and reindeers, animals which are not native in my home country. Amongst the other animals, I spotted the Scottish Wildcat, unafraid of the rain as it perched above its shelter in its enclosure. Definitely not the scary wildcat the Victorians had taxidermized and preserved in front of my eyes.

Hearing about the grey seal, my memories harkened back to the time I visited the island of North Uist, and whilst on Berneray, drove to the Seal Viewing Point, where I saw around twenty grey and common seals, lounging on the coast, observing the day going by and waiting for the tide to come up and refresh them.

Seals on the isle of Berneray, North Uist © Sharon Pisani

I heard about the European Badger and recalled a memory of riding my bicycle home after a night out with friends. Passing by the Lade Braes, I heard a loud scurrying sound, before a shadow crossed the road, hit my bike’s front wheel with considerable force, and crossed on into the darkness of the woods. The shock from this strange encounter lasted longer than the encounter itself, but despite not seeing the animal properly, I can still recollect seeing the distinctive black and white stripes flash before my eyes. I had seen my first ever badger in the wild.

Listening about more animals and seeing them on the display, I was excited to think about what other adventures I will go on to have in Scotland and what stories I will remember in some distant day in the future. Museums can truly bring their collections alive, not just through the exhibition, but through the memories that are awakened in the visitor’s mind. And what better stories to remember, than those involving our time with people, our interactions with animals, and our place living in nature. See what memories come alive at Bell Pettigrew Museum and share your own stories through #TalesOfScotland on social media!

The Bell Pettigrew Museum is open over the Autumn holidays from 10th – 21st October, Monday to Friday from 13:00-17:00. The audio tours can be accessed through the following links or by downloading the Smartify app.

Smartify | Bell Pettigrew Animals of Scotland Tour

Written by Sharon Pisani, Visitor Services Facilitator and PHD student in the School of Computer Science of the University of St Andrews

Diversifying the State Rooms of St Andrews University – but how?

Visitors entering the State Rooms of the University of St Andrews are currently confronted exclusively with oil portraits of the University’s past principals and chancellors. To diversify the exhibition, the University Museums and the School of Art History initiated a collaboration: students of the module “The Portrait in Western Art”, under the supervision of Dr Elsje van Kessel, proposed works to update the exhibition. This text is the shortened version of my proposal. I suggest adding seven photographs to the exhibition – six portraits of pioneers of early photography and one self-portrait of the photographer Franki Raffles (1955–1994). These objects are among the highlights of the roughly 30,000 prestigious photographs in the University museum’s art collection.

The first set of photographs shows prominent members of an intellectual circle of photographers and scientists in St Andrews, which developed under the leadership of Sir David Brewster (1781–1868), back then principal of the United Colleges of St Andrews University. Brewster knew William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877), the inventor of a photographic process called calotype, and encouraged his circle to master this highly complex process and to refine Talbot’s invention through collaboratively conducted experiments. Since Brewster persuaded Talbot that patenting his invention in Scotland would be unprofitable, the St Andrews community could experiment with Talbot’s invention for free. The calotype was also a matter of scientific publications. Many pioneers were members of scientific associations like the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the St Andrews Literary and Philosophical society. Most of these personalities held prestigious positions at the University. For instance, James David Forbes (1809–1868) succeeded Brewster as the principal of the United Colleges, Dr John Adamson was a doctor and chemistry professor (1809–1870), and Hugh Lyon Playfair (1787–1861) the University provost.

Images Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums

In contrast to these amateur photographers, other personalities were University alumni who decided to work as professional photographers – among the first world-wide! One of them, Robert Adamson (1821–1848), produced artistically important photographs in his Edinburgh studio in collaboration with the painter David Octavius Hill (1802–1870). A second photographer, Thomas Rodger (1832–1883), opened a purpose-built professional studio in St Andrews in 1849, nowadays housing the University’s Careers Centre. The selected photographs commemorate these pioneering figures and provide examples of early portraits produced with the calotype process.

Robert Adamson by David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson
Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums ID: ALB-24-2-2

I propose to juxtapose this set of photographs with a self-portrait by the feminist photographer Franki Raffles. Raffles, born in England, studied philosophy at the University ofSt Andrews starting in 1973. During her studies, she took a leading role in the local group of the Women’s Liberation Movement. As a member of this group, she fought against gender inequalities within the University and proposed radical changes to the movement’s organisation and aims. After her degree, Raffles taught herself the art of photography and worked in Edinburgh as a freelance photographer. In the 1980s and early 1990s, she travelled through Scotland and Asia to document the harsh realities of women’s everyday lives and thus raise public awareness of the everyday problems of women. In 1992, she led the “Zero Tolerance campaign”, a successful initiative against domestic violence. For this project, she designed posters including photographs of women in apparently normal domestic environments but bearing inscriptions indicating that these women were victims of abuse. Why is Raffles’ link to St Andrews important for understanding her art? Although Raffles was not yet acquainted with photography during her studies, in St Andrews she developed many of the feminist ideals which later pervaded her photography. On 17 October, photographer and St Andrews alumna Franki Raffles would have turned 67 years old.

Trip to Eastern Europe and Asia by Franki Raffles.
Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: 2014-4-1699-6a

Raffles’ self-portrait would add another aspect to the display. It stands for female empowerment, as it depicts Raffles in the act of taking her own picture. As a result, she retains control over her identity and is not objectified. Furthermore, juxtaposing the portrait of one woman with those of six men would visualise the historical gender imbalance at St Andrews University. In fact, for centuries women were not accepted at the University as students, let alone as professors or principals. Likewise, the portraits of personalities from Brewster’s circle include only men. Although women actively participated in the early development of photography, they were forced into less prominent roles than men due to social conventions. For instance, they were active in scientific associations but could not become official members, and they often worked as assistants of male photographers without being acknowledged.

The proposed selection of photographs would also diversify the artistic mediums represented in the current exhibition. This would allow visitors to compare the oil paintings in the State rooms with the newly added photographs. For instance, Brewster would be shown in both media. Formally, the representations are similar, with Brewster sitting on a majestic chair, along with books symbolising his erudition, and holding glasses in his hand, a possible allusion to his scientific contributions in the field of optics. But there are differences too: Brewster’s individual characteristics stand out more clearly in the photograph than in the oil painting. At the time, calotypes were usually taken outside, where the sun provided enough natural light. As a result, photographs often featured a spotlight on the depicted figure, which here highlights the details of the sitter’s face and hands. Moreover, the portraits differ in scale. While the oil painting is large and majestic, the photograph is small and more intimate. The new medium would then also allow showing new facets of Brewster’s personality. In the current context of the State Rooms, Brewster’s oil portrait honours him in his role as a principal. In the context of other pioneers of early photography, Brewster’s portrait would commemorate his additional role as a scientific leader and promoter of photography.

The State Rooms are meant to represent the University. The proposed display would provide a more comprehensive picture of its history, indicating its pioneering role in the early history of photography. And why not enjoy the contrast between majestic oil paintings and intimate photographs?

Written by Francesco Alessandrini Lupia, 4th-year student in the School of Art History of the University of St Andrews

Hidden Histories

The University of St Andrews portrait collection was established to commemorate important figures in national and institutional history. However, a walk around Parliament Hall or the Senate Room, two of the University’s State Rooms containing the most venerable portraits of the collection, does not show the full story. Women were fully admitted to the University in 1892 and many figures worked hard to improve educational opportunities for women, but they are not on display and their histories are therefore hidden from the narrative. There is currently only one portrait of a woman on display, despite the fact that the University currently has a female Principal and Rector and sixty percent of the student population is female. How can we best diversify the collection and commemorate those who have made a difference?

‘Portraiture’ for most people brings to mind large, old fashioned oil paintings, an idea which the current display supports. However, it can be found in many more forms including in sculpture, photographs, banknotes and all over social media. As well as diversifying the people represented, it is important that the State Rooms better present the various forms of portraiture in the University collection, including photography and sculpture. I have selected three portraits which bring to light hidden narratives, depicting figures who worked hard to allow women a university education at both St Andrews and across the country.

Miss E. Garrett,
Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums

The portrait of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1862–63) was taken by photographer John Adamson and can be found in his Playfair Album of the 1850s and 60s. In 1862, Anderson matriculated to study medicine, but once the board found out she was a woman, she was no longer allowed to study at the University. Anderson did not let this stop her, going on to become Britain’s first female doctor and working tirelessly to improve opportunities for women in medicine across the country, co-founding the New Hospital for Women and the London School of Medicine for Women. Although Anderson has more recently been recognised by the University for her efforts, her story is still obscured by other important medical alumni such as Edward Jenner who invented the smallpox vaccine.

Anderson’s portrait also serves to highlight St Andrews’ important place in the early history of photography. John Adamson (1809-70) was overshadowed in history by his brother Robert, despite making Scotland’s first calotype photograph, a portrait, in 1842. His photograph of ‘Miss E. Garret’ uses motifs traditionally used in male portraits to show intellect, unusual at this time for a portrait of a woman. Anderson wears a plain, dark, button-down dress and holds a book, showing her desire to learn. In the background of the photograph sits a microscope on a wooden table, which she faces away from, just as she was refused an education. Importantly, she avoids any eye contact with the viewer of the portrait, showing her shame and frustration. Photographs create a stronger sense of truth than painted portraits and are more familiar to modern day viewers, who are constantly surrounded by photographs on social media.

Graduates in St Salvator’s Quadrangle,
Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums.

Other photos in the University archive commemorate women who, thanks to the efforts and determination of Elizabeth Anderson, were able to graduate from St Andrews. A photograph by an unknown artist shows a group of female graduates in St Salvator’s quadrangle (1896) and the woman on the left is likely Agnes Blackadder, the University’s first female graduate. Blackadder graduated in March 1895 and became a dermatologist before working for the Scottish women’s hospital during the First World War. Without Anderson’s rejection and determination, Blackadder and other women may never have been able to study at the University.

Professor William Angus Knight by Elizabeth Hean Alexander,
Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: HC196

The third portrait shows Professor William Angus Knight, LL.D. (1892) who became a professor of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews in 1876. Just one year later, he established the ‘Lady Literate in Arts’ (LLA) programme which offered university-level courses on a range of subjects and continued until 1931. Although the programme has been criticised for its distanced-learning approach, which made sure women would not mix with male students in classes, the programme was an important step towards female education. By 1892, women were allowed to study full time under an act of parliament and in 1896, the first female hall of residence in Scotland was built with funding from the LLA, University Hall. Knight also donated 139 framed portraits and eight portrait busts to the University collection which he believed would help to read students about the character of those portrayed, true also of his own portrait.

The artist, Elizabeth Hean Alexander (1862–1951), has left little trace in Scottish art history and shows determination at a time when it was still difficult for women to obtain artistic training. The State Rooms only have the work of one other female artist on display, Victoria Crowe, and once again her work is overshadowed by famous artists such as Henry Raeburn and David Wilkie.

Although the painting appears traditional, showing Knight’s power through his large body and direct eye contact, he is not intimidating, instead coming across as thoughtful and meditative with a relaxed pose. The artist has created visual unity through the red crest, book and drapery, the key symbols of the portrait. The crest in the background is the unofficial University arms used before 1905 and designed by St Andrews librarian, James Maitland Anderson. Including the crest in the portrait recalls the rich history of the University and ensures Knight’s place within this.

Both Elizabeth Anderson and Professor Knight were resilient and determined figures who sparked change at the University and throughout society. Including their portraits in the State Rooms would bring to light their untold stories and help the display to more accurately represent the current community’s beliefs and ideals.

Freya Irving, 4th-year student in the School of Art History of the University of St Andrews

A fish that makes memories

Tenualosa Ilisha (Ham Buck) BPM 1553 Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: BPM1553

“The Ilisha frequents the Bay of Bengal and the large saltwater estuaries of the Ganges, and in the rainy season, ascends the larger rivers to spawn. I have seen it as high as Agra and Kanpur, but so high up it is very rare. At Patna on the Ganges and Goalpara on the Brahmaputra, it is pretty common, but rather poor and exhausted. About Calcutta and Dhaka it is in the utmost abundance and perfection and is the richest and highest flavoured fish that I know.”

These are the words of Francis Hamilton, who was one of the first scientists to formally describe and identify this fish, which he called Tenualosa Ilisha, known and revered by generations of Bengalis as Ilish, the best and most delicious of fishes.

Hamilton describes the Ilisha’s scales as “oblong, striated, indented on the edges and easily rubbed off”. He writes that “the back and the belly are nearly equally arched and that the pectoral fins are much shorter than the head.” With the typical confidence of the 19th century colonial explorer and administrator, he is able to categorise and define the Ilish; he knows what it means.

As an expatriate Bengali member of the St Andrews community, however, for me it is a strange experience to see this fish presented here simply and uncomplicatedly as a zoological sample. The neatness and precision of Hamilton’s description and of the display here makes me think of the messiness of the Bengali fish market and suddenly I am ten years old again, holding my father’s hand, standing in front of the fishmonger as he slices off the fins and scales using the black curved blade known as a bonti.

The Ilish season is also the rainy season, so my father and I would go back home in the rain where the Ilish would be cooked, fried, steamed in banana leaf or poached in a mustard sauce. As a delicacy it would usually be saved for special occasions. So these memories are also family gatherings; loud, messy affairs full of so much fun. How different that sense memory feels to this poor, solitary, lifeless specimen in a museum display case.

Contrary to Hamilton’s easy confidence, objects and indeed fishes do not mean one thing, cannot be safely put into boxes and can always surprise you.

As for fishes, so for people. The landscape that Hamilton is describing has changed quite a bit since 1822. Calcutta and Dhaka are now separated by an international border. In 1947, Bengal was split into West Bengal, which became part of India, and East Bengal, which became East Pakistan in 1972. East Pakistan changed again to Bangladesh as new nations and new categories emerged in the form of national identities.

Reading Hamilton’s account of the Ilish traversing the length of the Ganges, caring not a jot for the national borders that would one day divide the people, is poignant in the way that he could not have imagined. For millions of Bangla Bengalis, like myself, whose family origins lie in what is today Bangladesh, but who have lived for 75 years in what is now India, the Ilish is so much more than just a delicacy.

Many Bengalis in their 80s and 90s still salivate at the memory of the fish they had eaten back home seven decades ago. No fish of today can compete with those memories. “What a taste,” they will say, “you young people have no idea.”

Hamilton might have complained about the innumerable small bones and that the fish is heavy of digestion, but for these old people, it sometimes feels like these memories are what keep them going. Because the memories are about much more than the fish. They are about home and belonging. About the helplessness of having one’s nation reorganised by someone else and against one’s will.

As I look at the specimen today, that is what I think of – of home and homelessness, about belonging and unbelonging. Uprooted as a family when we were forced to move westwards to Calcutta in 1947. Uprooted again as I moved further west to Britain in the 21st century. This fish reminds me at once of how far I have come and of what I have left behind.

Written by Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri, School of English, University of St Andrews

Why are we Re-collecting Empire?

Re-collecting Empire exhibition logo ©University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums

Empire has some tangled legacies. For some people colonial expansion brought glory, power and a great deal of wealth. For others it spelled disaster. And there were many people who occupied positions in between these two extremes.

These legacies are also still with us today, in street names, memorials, statues, and the buildings that surround us. If you look in your kitchen cupboards you’ll probably find products that became popular as a result of the British Empire’s expansion, like tea, chocolate and sugar. You’ll get a hint of it through who has power and influence today, and the power structures that usually dictate this.

You’ll also see these legacies in museums. In many museums some of the objects on display or in storage came to the collection from imperial or colonial contexts, legitimately or otherwise. These objects embody stories of peoples, countries and cultures who were subsumed into one empire or another. Some museums were specifically established to tell stories of empire, or to demonstrate the power of colonialists over the colonised.

Museums still perpetuate these legacies, and this can still cause hurt. The stories we tell about objects from colonial contexts can ignore or marginalise the voices of those who used or made them; the way objects are stored might be disrespectful to the originating culture. We might misunderstand an object completely.

Chinese Bell used in sacred and royal ceremonies, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: ET1977.110

Some of these things are a result of how these objects were acquired, and how they have been studied and catalogued since then. In St Andrews the first University museum was established by members of the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1838, who filled it with objects from around the world. Some of the people who gave things to the collection had lived and worked in colonised countries, but the information they recorded about an object was often scant, saying little of what it was or how it was acquired. A bell acquired at this time, for example, is recorded in the Society’s minutes simply as “hand bell” from China; nothing else is said about how it was obtained, which part of China it comes from, or what its original use was. The truth is that it’s not a hand bell at all, but part of a much larger set played with hammers, and in sacred and royal ceremonies. Described as a “hand bell”, this object was reduced to being a curiosity, its cultural importance removed.

This lack of information makes responding to the legacies of empire that we find in our collections difficult. Nevertheless, we believe that it’s important to tackle those legacies. That’s why we have written into our strategic plan that one of our goals at the Museums of the University of St Andrews is to “tackle institutional legacies and work for a more inclusive and equitable future”. Re-collecting Empire is a central part of this. However, the exhibition is not the end of this process; rather, it’s a statement of progress and of intention, as well as a starting point for conversations that we need to have.

The Re-collecting Empire exhibition at the Wardlaw Museum is the result of a lot of careful thinking and consultation about how we tackle the colonial legacies in our collection. It’s one of our first attempts to explore these stories publicly and trial new ways of telling them, with the voices of those who have often been excluded at the forefront.

Behind the scenes the Museums team have been doing provenance research to better understand when, how and in what circumstances objects came into the collection – a painstaking but important step in tackling those legacies. We’ve been talking to different communities to know how we should store and display the collections, and what the stories we should be telling about them should be.

The exhibition is a part of the process. We will probably get things wrong, but we will learn from it, listen to our visitors, and improve so that we really can work for a more inclusive and equitable future. It is part of a wider programme of work within the University, and one that will continue after the exhibition closes, building on the conversations we hope to have in the coming months.

Written by Dr Catherine Eagleton, Director of Libraries and Museums, University of St Andrews

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert: An insight into the artist’s mind behind our new photography collection

“You’ve got to know your boxes” I was once told by a photographer, meaning you’ve got to know what you’re photographing and what ‘box’ the images will go into. Then, once those boxes fill up, you may have the start of a project or a collection. The boxes could contain anything, portraits perhaps, or photographs of football culture, or images of shipbuilding, but in general for ‘boxes’ think themes.  

In late 2020 I contacted Rachel Nordstrom, then Photography Collections Manager at University of St Andrews, with a question about different types of boxes. I wanted to know about best practice for the archiving of negatives, of prints and contact sheets. What type of archival boxes should I be looking at to store negatives and prints in, and was there a best practice way of doing that, of listing the contents to those boxes? How does one turn one’s collection of images into an archive? I thought if anywhere knew, it’d be the University of St Andrews where they’ve been collecting photography since its birth in 1844.  

A black and white photo showing a woman in a coat and head wrapped in a scarf waiting inside of a bus shelter. A young man wearing light pants and a dark jacket is waiting outside on the right. A statue of rhinoceros stands on top of the shelter.
Scotland © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

My own collection of photographs that I’ve taken dates back roughly to 1988, from my college years in Glasgow where I studied photography, and from trips in summer vacations to the Middle East. Those were my first footsteps in photographing and travelling, and from those travels I began to think I could use photography as a tool to let me explore our world. Never did I think it would lead me to the adventures I’ve since had. 

A black and white photo showing two men in a shipyard looking at the belly of a large ship. Other workmen are in the background.
Kvaerner shipbuilding yard, on the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland, June 1993 © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

Over the following 30+ years until now I’ve been fortunate that my photography career has been kind to me and it’s taken me around the world to multiple countries, where I’ve been afforded opportunities to meet people from all walks of life, from the man in the street down on his luck to royalty, from cultural icons to household names from the world of business, and not only in the UK but with opportunities to gain insights into cultures the world over. And all the while I was photographing it all, documenting it all, hoping one day it would find a home. 

This has led to a large collection of photographs, many taken on assignments for newspapers and magazines, corporate and NGO clients, but also many taken on self-initiated projects. Overall, my collection of photographs now sits at roughly one million digital images, that’s the RAW shoots, edited down it’d be far less of course. And, from the earlier days of my career there are the thousands of rolls of negatives, with accompanying contact sheets, prints, and tear sheets of much of the published works.  

Colour photograph shows a woman holding a baby. The pair are facing to the right, walking away. They are in front of a wall which has 'Count your blessings' written on it in blue paint.
201010 Indonesia, Citarum edit, October 2010 © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

With the opportunities I’ve been afforded, the moments I’ve witnessed, there comes a certain responsibility to then care for the resulting images. What use are they if they sit in my office, unseen? I owe it to the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet, those who offered me glimpses of their lives and let me photograph, to tell their stories, to share the resulting photographs with others. If others then find merit in the work, then perhaps it will all mean something, perhaps the photographs can help break down barriers across the world between differing peoples and cultures.  

To share those images also carries the responsibility of looking after them, making sure the prints won’t get torn, the negatives won’t curl, and fade and the hard drives of digital files won’t get corrupted. Was keeping them in my office the best place, or would they be better placed in a facility geared and aimed towards best archival practices for photography? A place such as the temperature controlled archival facility at University of St Andrews. 

As Rachel Nordstrom and I discussed boxes, and archiving workflows, we began discussing the housing of my collection within the University’s prestigious collection of photography of Scotland, and of the world by Scottish photographers. We both felt it would be a natural fit.. There was cross over between some of the projects I’d worked on and work already within the University collection, thus adding to the research and educational potential for all the work.  

Importantly for me the scale of the St Andrews collection, and of their aims and ambitions for their collection, also fitted with my desire to keep all of my archive in one place. I had no desire to split my work up amongst varying institutions who would take one project, or two, but ignore the rest. I felt there would be merit in keeping it all together, thus a more rounded portrait of a working photographer’s life and career could be utilised by those who wished to view it, to hopefully find merit in it and the imagery and information it contained.  

Bringing order to my collection was first and foremost, but during Covid pandemic lockdowns it was a good use of my time, sorting, annotating, adding information, and bringing enough order to the work that it would be in a position to be understood by others. I always hoped my archive would be acquired by an institution, but I imagined it 20 or 30 years from now, at the end of my career. It’s been a little surprising it has happened now, but I think all parties are all the better for it.  

Now, as the University works with my photography and uses it for the common good and educational benefits, I’m on hand to add information, to answer questions when they arise. I get to see my work utilised, and we get to collaborate to jointly extrapolate more worth from that which I have photographed. Importantly I also don’t have to burden my family with looking after it all, making sense of it all, should something happen to me.  

A black and white photo showing an elderly woman in traditional Romanian costume retells stories  to her granddaughter, sitting next to her on the left.
Talia Mihai, mother of the chief of Sintesti camp, tells stories to her granddaughter Garoafa, inside the family tent in the Kalderash Roma camp of Sintesti, near Bucharest, August 1994 © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

Now that my collection is housed in St Andrews, birthplace of Scottish photography, I feel slightly freed up to look forward more easily to all the things I’m yet to experience and photograph. The sorting of my collection this past year or two involved a lot of glancing in the rear-view mirror, and while the work is undoubtedly now in a better place for it, looking back too much can bring certain feelings of nostalgia or melancholy perhaps – one side effect of preparing the archive that no one warned me about was the emotional aspect of looking back over it all. But perhaps that is a topic for another blog post.  

For now, let us jointly celebrate that my archive of photography has joined the already important and impressive archive the University has built. I look forward in coming times to exploring my work with the researchers and academics, teachers and students, and perhaps in further blog posts I can share the stories behind some of that which I’ve photographed, the cultures I’ve seen and the people I’ve been most fortunate to meet along  the way and who graciously let me photograph their lives. The celebration of the archive is primarily the celebration of the stories of all these people, without whom there would be no photographs, and no archival boxes to fill.   

Written by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2022.