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Published on Jun 8, 2015
The fascinating story of the North East's very own Gertrude Bell is brought to life on the small screen in a BBC Inside Out programme. Narrated by Helen Berry, Professor of British History, filming took place at Newcastle University's campus and featured the Special Collections in the Robinson Library as well as in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. Prof Berry interviewed Dr Mark Jackson lecturer in Archaeology, as they examined selections from the archive chosen from Special Collections with the help of Dr Melanie Wood.
Looking through the photographs and letters, Prof Berry and Dr Jackson, who has responsibility for the Gertrude Bell Photographic Archive, helped to show how the archaeologist Gertrude Bell came to play a leading role in the making of the modern state of Iraq in the early 20th century.
Three postgraduate students from Iraq discussed with Professor Berry their impressions of Gertrude Bell and her legacy for people in Iraq today. Their very candid and eloquent views add depth to the feature.
Interest in the University’s Gertrude Bell archives has remained high in recent years because of the changing political situation in the Middle East. In 2013 a major conference - Gertrude Bell: A Life and Legacy - was held at the British Academy and the Royal Society in London. It was hosted by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) in collaboration with the Gertrude Bell Archive at Newcastle University.