The Gunnie Moberg Archive


Read the blog about the first week of the project here

Library secures funding for Gunnie archive
Press release 04 March 2013

An award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £78,500 is enabling the Orkney Library and Archive to purchase the archive of the Swedish photographer, painter and designer Gunnie Moberg (1941-2007).

Gunnie Moberg lived in Orkney for more than 30 years. The funding will secure the archive as a rich cultural resource for the benefit of current and future generations.

Her work records the historical, social and geographic landscapes of the islands of northern Scotland and beyond. In addition to a large volume of photojournalistic work, there were also numerous collaborations with significant writers and poets.

Her most significant work is considered to have been inspired by collaborations with the Orcadian writer and poet George Mackay Brown, with whom she produced a number of books.

The HLF award will result in a two-year project involving the cataloguing, conservation and digitization of the archive, which includes Gunnie Moberg’s works, notebooks, photographic negatives and transparencies, reference prints, exhibition prints and manuscripts.

The project will result in a physical and digital repository, making the archive accessible both to the local community and the wider world.

Gary Amos, Library and Archive Manager, said: “I am delighted at the news of the award, particularly as it will enable the archive to stay in Orkney which was very much the wish of Gunnie Moberg’s family and friends.

“The Library and Archive was felt to be the most appropriate place for the archive, enabling it to be both kept in the very best environmental conditions and to enable excellent access to a very important part of Orkney’s history and culture.

“It has taken a great deal of hard work by my colleagues to get this project off the ground and I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the means to get the project underway.”

Senior Archivist David Mackie added: “We will be engaging someone to work specifically on the project. Their first year will be taken up with cataloguing, digitization and the creation of a web presence. In the second year we will be looking at ways of providing access to the collection for students and the public, which will include exhibitions within and outwith Orkney.

“Gunnie focussed her lens on so many different aspects of life in Orkney, Shetland, the Faroes and beyond and it is great news that we will be able to keep her archive together and in Orkney.”

Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “This is a wonderful project, not just for the fascinating collection of photographs that it has unearthed, but because it has sparked an interest in heritage amongst so many people. Their involvement will produce a wonderful archive for others to learn from and enjoy.”

Gunnie Moberg moved to Orkney in 1976 with her husband Tam McPhail and their four children. The family are delighted that the funding application was successful for the Gunnie Moberg archive.

The family said: “It will be a real pleasure to see Gunnie’s photos archived in this way and most importantly for this to be done in Orkney.

“Her work was all about island life in Orkney, from her stunning landscape and portrait photos to her collaborations with other writers, especially George Mackay Brown. We hope the project will open up her collection to a whole new generation and create a long lasting legacy.”

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