Heritage and territories

Heritage and territories

Since 2011, the Eclla Research Unit has been involved in the preservation and diffusion of working-class memory through the digitisation, study and diffusion of old photographies related to industrial heritage. In particular, work has been carried out on the Paul-Martial collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Saint-Étienne and on the collection of the Siemens-VAI company, now kept at the Museum of Art and Industry in Saint-Étienne, as part of the Viva Arts project.

Initiated in 2018, the research programme "Heritage and territories: memory of work in Roanne" aims to preserve the memory of work in Roanne city, between 1930 and 1985 through the digitisation and study of the Michel Lucas photographic collection kept at the Joseph Déchelette Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology in Roanne. This professional photographer from Roanne specialised in industry. For several decades, he photographed industries and their production (textile industry, metallurgy, paper mills, etc.) as well as local businesses. The images in this collection are both documentary and narrative. The various reports reflect the evolution of the territory and its professional activity, whether through its large industries or its small businesses.

The Museum has carried out an initial thematic inventory of the collection, enabling it to identify the main companies in Roanne, together with a census totalling 9,515 documents, including 5,887 negatives (on glass plates, film plans and film of various formats) and 3,628 photographic prints. The digitisation of the collection is currently underway. It has been entrusted to the company NTA, an integration company specialising in digitisation based in Puy-en-Velay.

Many trades and activities are represented in the photographic archives of the Michel Lucas collection. Some companies in the area, such as Devernois, are still in business today. But many others have disappeared. The knowledge of the images in the collection requires recourse to specialists in different disciplines (history, history of photography, history of techniques, sociology...), but also to the direct actors and their testimonies. These witnesses belong to a generation that is disappearing. To ensure that the existence of this working-class memory does not remain confined to archive boxes, this project aims to document the collection and promote it to specialists and the general public. Once the digitisation has been completed, it will be necessary to caption and document the images correctly in order to present them to the public. The digitisations and documentation carried out on the Michel Lucas collection will be made available to the general public on the Roanne digital library (memo-roanne.fr).

At the same time, an international interdisciplinary symposium on the theme of "Heritage and Territories" was organised at the IUT in Roanne on 7, 8 and 9 November 2019, jointly by Anne-Céline Callens (CIEREC) and Jacques Poisat (EVS). It allowed to compare the heritage approaches carried out on the Roanne territory with those of other territories in France and abroad. A presentation of the work in progress on the Michel Lucas collection was also made on this occasion. (Further information on this conference: https://colloqueroanne.wixsite.com/2019).