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News Release — November 6, 2008

2008 Flair Symposium Webcast: "Creating a Usable Past: Writers, Archives and Institutions"

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, will webcast the Fleur Cowles Flair Symposium, "Creating a Usable Past: Writers, Archives and Institutions," from Nov. 13 to 15.

International participants and speakers range from authors Lee Blessing, Tim O'Brien, Denis Johnson and Amy Tan to National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, Bodleian Library Associate Director Richard Ovenden, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Director Frank Turner, Emory's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library Director Stephen Enniss and Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley.

The symposium will examine the role of archives in preserving and contributing to our understanding of culture. Panel topics include "Writers on the Future of Reading," "Building the Archive," "The Archive on the Market," "Transforming the Archive," "The Changing Shape of Archives" and "Looking Forward to Preserve the Past."

"The belief in the value of studying the creative process continues to be at the heart of the work of research libraries," said Staley. "During the Flair Symposium, writers, archivists, dealers, agents and scholars will seek to understand better the forces that create, protect, provide access to and interpret literary archives."

The symposium is held in conjunction with the Ransom Center's exhibition "The Mystique of the Archive," which uses the lens of the Harry Ransom Center to explore both the archiving of our culture and the culture surrounding archives. Drawing on the Center's extensive holdings of the imaginative creations of writers and artists, the exhibition illustrates the diverse nature of archives and their myriad uses.

The Flair Symposium, held biennially at the Ransom Center, honors the ideals set forth by Fleur Cowles and her landmark "Flair" magazine.

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