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The Champernowne Archive

In May this year, Irene Champernowne’s personal archive moved from its previous – and somewhat precarious – homes in a Devon barn, then an Exeter attic, to its new, permanent home in the University of Sheffield. 

Now housed in the University’s Special Collections, the Champernowne archive includes Irene Champernowne’s PhD Thesis, notes for her unpublished autobiography, miscellaneous personal photographs and correspondence ( with Laurens van der Post, Anthony Stevens, C G Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Woolf amongst others), her dream journals and material about the history of Withymead and articles about the centre, pamphlets, photographs and other memorabilia. 

The first step in the process of making the Champernowne archive available to researchers and other interested parties will be to catalogue, preserve and digitise the contents. A small steering group had been established to oversee this and to help shape the future of the archive, currently Pam Stirling, Chair of the CT, Professor Brendon Stone and Mary Going from the University of Sheffield, Paula Robertson, Trustee of CT and the art therapist David Edwards.

The prospect of preserving Irene’s legacy and making this available to a new generation of artists, therapists and academics possibly unfamiliar with her work and ideas is an exciting one.