I have been working for the Highland Council Archive Service, Inverness as their Senior Conservator since 2009; I previously worked for the West Yorkshire Archives Service, Wakefield.
I look after the collection environments, security, preservation, packaging and conservation. I also manage the preservation, conservation of collections held at the other four repositories operated by the Highland Council Archive Service. I help provide an extensive external conservation schedule to various clients in Scotland via High Life Highland Conservation Service.
In 2008 I was assessed as a Map and Plans Instructor, more recently the Introduction module on the
In 2010 I was awarded accreditation status with ARA; I continued with my lifelong learning by gaining an MA in 2013 via Northumbria University in Preventative Conservation.
I am a member of the Archives & Records Association (
Written in the Landscape Project - Making the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle Accessible through Conservation
The High Life Highland Conservation Service was contacted initial by Argyll Estates Archive in 2014 to carry out a conservation survey on the collection, which was prioritised into conservation treatment programmes dependant on the condition of each item. The information included in the conservation report could be used as a tool to generate income through grant awards such as National Manuscript Conservation Trust, Heritage Lottery and closer to home the Friends of the Argyll Papers.
The conservation treatments being carried out on this cultural and important collection from Argyll Estate is an important step to stabilising the collection and preserving for the long term, which encourages users of Argyll Estates Archive and Friends of the Argyll Papers to access the collection digitally or up close and personal.
The conservation treatment is specific to each individual map, some maps require re-backing, however where possible a more sympathetic approach is considered where preferable, by applying paste into air pockets where the previous adhesive may have reversed, either mechanically or during a high humid environment.
The maps are either put in polyester pockets with two edges welded, or a polyester roll, which also acts as a sympathetic core.
Photographs, a high definition digital image and a full treatment report is included once each map is completed.
The Archivist at Argyll Estates decides on the direct appraisal for the collection by directing the conservation and collection towards the ultimate goal for stabilisation and preservation for the whole collection.
SALVADOR ALCÁNTARA PELÁEZ
I have worked as a conservator for the British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership digitisation project since July 2015. I have a degree in Geography and History/History of Art and a master’s degree in Museum Studies. I trained in bookbinding before moving to the UK to undertake a Foundation degree in Arts in Book Conservation at the Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London. This was followed by a one-year Icon/HLF internship at the Wellcome Library, a period of independent practice, and a sixteen-month contract at the National Records of Scotland.
Enabling access to untold stories: Conservation in the British Library/Qatar Foundation digitisation project
My paper will start with an overview of the development and contents that inform the Qatar Digital Library (www.qdl.qa) at a moment when the 1.25 million images target set for the end of the second phase of the project (2015-2018) has already been exceeded. The QDL, a bilingual Arabic-English online portal which provides free access to previously undigitised British Library archive materials relating to Gulf history and Arabic science, is the product of the partnership between The British Library and the Qatar Foundation, started in 2012 with the aim of improving the understanding of the Islamic world, Arabic cultural heritage and the modern history of the Gulf while making a high-quality resource available to researchers around the world.
The portal makes the modern history and culture of the Gulf and wider region, particularly its connection with Britain, available through vividly documented personal and official archives, photographs, maps and sound recordings, which are complemented by experts’ articles, contextualised explanatory notes and links. To date, over one million images, mostly of India Office Records files, have been created.
The second part of the presentation will deal with the development of conservation standards applied to the assessment and treatment of the archival material selected for digitisation over the last six and a half years, the binding principles of ‘fit-for-purpose’ and ‘minimal intervention’, and the risk assessment informing multiple decision-making processes. I will discuss the importance of continuous communication and agreement of compromises between the conservation team and their project colleagues, the use of a collaborative tool (Microsoft SharePoint), and that of raising collection care awareness through bespoke handling training sessions. The latter have proved invaluable to keeping the conservation action within time-efficient limits, i.e. able to facilitate the continuous and smooth feeding of the workflow, without compromising the physical integrity of the digitised material.
Finally, I will try to show how the conservation action, beyond facilitating the digital and curatorial processes, has helped unveil a good few individual and collective stories which would have otherwise remained untold.
In 1984 I began my bookbinding apprenticeship at St Deiniol’s Library working on Gladstone’s books and his incunabula. I attended college day release at Liverpool to do a city and guilds in bookbinding.
During my time at the library I completed many rebacks and bound many volumes that had belonged to Gladstone and been annotated. Amongst many special tasks I was able to work on books owned by Robert Browning and Tissot.
In 1992 I moved to the Flintshire Record Office to the post of trainee conservator.
I gained the Society of Archivists certificate in Conservation in 1995 and became a registered member due to my work as the convenor for the Wales region.
Since taking over the studio in 2000 I have been involved in many conservation projects.
I enjoy being an Instructor in parchment repair and bookbinding on the
Repairing folios for sewing, a talk, demonstration and practical workshop
Since the emergence of the ancient codex, the age old problem of strengthening the spine folds after damage has been done has been a difficult task. In every conservation procedure there are a wide range of issues to consider but repair to the spine fold area affects the whole function of the book as a working object. If the sewing fails due to a weakened area further losses can ensue.
The talk will address the materials and methods used commonly today and also look back at what has happened in the recent past. Discussion will cover the avoidance of excessive swell, infills and drying methods.
Applying Japanese tissue will be demonstrated and the audience will be able to have a go at affecting a repair themselves. It should provide an opportunity for a good exchange of information and techniques.
SPEAKER PROFILE COMING SOON
Building a home for digital content
I have been Heritage Collections Manager at BT since 2016 looking, among other things, at our cataloguing structure and processes. At around the same time, I became a Trustee of the Business Archives Council, where I manage the arts cataloguing grant. This has offered a great chance to discover the cataloguing projects of other businesses. I’ve had previous roles at Lloyds Banking Group and the British Museum, and voluntary positions on ARA’s section for business records and as a board director of the Digital Preservation Coalition.
Title: Charting the corporate jungle - moving to a functional arrangement and authorities-led catalogue structure in a large business (demo)
At a time when businesses change, go through cycles of review and restructure, how can we hope to continue reflecting provenance in our catalogues? With people moving into different departments and areas, how do we keep information up-to-date about who they are? In a specific case study example and demonstration, we will show you how we tackled this issue at BT Archives. How we moved our structure from a provenance-based to a functional arrangement, using the authorities database to help us to capture creator and originating department. If you're thinking of how you might start to tackle changing your cataloguing structure, or considering the use of authorities, this will help to spark ideas and answer some questions.
Ann is the Collections Care Development Officer at Gloucestershire Archives. She is an accredited conservator in archive and book conservation, I am currently responsible for collections care development at Gloucestershire Archives. I started at Warwickshire County Record Office in 1984, completed the Society of Archivists training and moved to The Wellcome Library in 1988. I studied the conservation of books and manuscripts at West Dean (1990-1992) under Chris Clarkson and David Dorning. In 2003 I became Conservation Manager at Gloucestershire Archives.
As a trustee for the Institute of Paper Conservation (1996-1999), I worked on introducing accreditation, chaired the meetings sub-committee, and organised a 2 day book conservation conference. I am an accreditation assessor for ICON (the Institute of Conservation).
In 2006 I participated in the Future Leaders Programme for Archives. Subjects I have given talks on include accreditation, CPD, book conservation and risk management. I am currently piloting collections care training modules for heritage volunteers and organisations in Gloucestershire.
How will we preserve archive collections in the future?
Where are we now, and what will the future look like?
“Who are the record-keepers and conservators?”
“What is the role of volunteers?”
Where are archives being kept and by whom? Where will they be kept in the future?
With the real and resource hungry need to care for the elderly and the vulnerable, and other pressing public priorities, are there enough resources available for preserving local archives?
How do we enlist public support for the care of archive collections?
“Do we (they) have the skills we (they) need?”
How can we ensure that preservation activity is appropriate and sustainable?
Kathy Lithgow, Head Conservator at the National Trust has identified the need for “added business, risk management, communication and training skills”. In 2016 she asserted that:
“To remain relevant the [Conservation] profession needs to develop . . . an external focus which benefits people as much as materials. It means changing expectations to work through others as much as doing the work yourself, and developing professional judgement as much as technical knowledge, to enable the cultural heritage business to pursue a strategy of growth.” Taken from ‘Looking outwards as well as inwards, and putting the
personal into the conservation professional’, Abstracts Day 2, ICON 16 conference ‘Turn and Face the Change: Conservation in the 21st Century’.
Gloucestershire Archives through the Heritage Lottery funded ‘For the Record’ project is embarking on “a collaborative approach to gathering, keeping and sharing the documented heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.”
How do we foster appropriate preservation knowledge and skills in our collaborators?
With the limited resources available to us how can we improve the care of collections? What are the risks and challenges we face? What are the opportunities and rewards?
I am Sound Collections Curator at the National Library of Scotland, which includes co-ordinating the Scotland’s Sounds network and oversight over the processing, preservation and access of the National Library’s collections held on sound formats. I am a graduate of both the MSc in Information Management & Preservation at the University of Glasgow, and MA(Hons) in Scottish Ethnology from University of Edinburgh. The majority of my studies and career have involved working with audio-visual collections.
Connecting Scotland's Sounds: raising the profile of Scotland's sound heritage
The Scotland's Sounds network has been established to tackle the need for our sector to better care for and share our sound collections to ensure our rich sound heritage is heard. The Connecting Scotland's Sounds project ran from 2016-2017 with the objectives of improving the skills and knowledge within archives, libraries, museums and community organisations to empower and enable better provision for sound collections. The project also co-ordinated partnership activities with a number of sector organisations and community enablers to bring new audiences to sound recordings, not just to listen, but to re-use, to be creative and be inspired by our sound recordings.
Despite being bound by format, rather than subject, there is evidence to suggest that the variety of content is "curatable" at a local and national level. The network has been a showcase of partnership working, cross-sector collaboration and community engagement working successfully in practice. The paper will report on the outcomes of the project, using some examples of knowledge exchange and public engagement activities carried out during the project to offer inspiration to our sector and to challenge our sector to work with our sound recordings more to ensure we can listen in to our past.
Oh, and there will be plenty of great audio clips to immerse yourself in as well.
Photographic Materials Conservator, Allen & Bonson: Conservation & Digitisation
I graduated in 2006 with a BA Honours in Contemporary Lens Media, specialising in photography and worked in a commercial photographic lab for 7 years before studying and re-training as a conservator. After completing a Graduate Diploma and Masters in Conservation of Historic Objects at Lincoln University, I have been a freelance photographic materials conservator working with Sarah Allen. I am now based in Lincoln and rent the conservation labs to carry out conservation treatment and digitisation on photographic collections.
I have also worked at English Heritage Archive in Swindon (now Historic England) as a photo services officer, digitising their collections and in 2016 I was working on a re-housing project at The National Gallery, London. I am also a current member of ICON.
THE PAST ON GLASS: CONSERVING THE KNIGHTS-WHITTOME DRY PLATE NEGATIVE COLLECTION
The Knights-Whittome photographic archive of 10,000 Edwardian glass plate negatives was rescued in 1988, having previously been abandoned and then forgotten about in a damp basement since the closure of the photographic studio in 1918. Due to the poor conditions for many years in the old studio basement, unsurprisingly, the collection was consequently in very poor condition. After a successful HLF bid by Sutton Archive in 2014, work began to tackle the conservation issues within the collection to enable the negatives to be digitised in the aim to open up the collection to a wider audience.
This paper discusses the challenges of conserving a glass plate negative collection in such poor condition, alongside the inevitable time and budget constraints. It explains the different conservation issues within the collection and the remedial treatments or approaches that were developed to solve them. Finally, to conclude, a summary of the collection and success of revealing images that had not been seen for over 100 years.
I’ve worked in a range of archival contexts since moving to London from my hometown of Birmingham in 2001. I qualified as an archivist at UCL in 2006 and since then have been lucky to work on fascinating collections such as at LSE Library, cataloguing archives of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE); then at Black Cultural Archives (BCA), getting the collections ready for public access at its new home in Windrush Square; and since 2009 as Heritage Manager at Tower Hamlets. Here I manage a team of 6 staff dedicated to connecting people with the East End’s amazing histories – for centuries a place of refuge for migrants fleeing persecution or civil war, as well as home to pioneering moments in labour history such as the Match Women’s Strike. In my spare time I DJ and run a queer club night called Unskinny Bop and chair the Management Committee of LAGNA, an LGBTQ community archive based at Bishopsgate Institute.
Supporting Black and Asian community heritage at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives (THLHLA)
Many Black and Asian people – whether younger and older people, artists, activists or community groups - are keen to explore their heritage connections to Tower Hamlets, a borough with a 55% non-White British population – but they often lack institutional support and resources, or the experience in leveraging funding. Archive services such as those core-funded by local authorities with their own buildings, storage facilities and exhibition spaces are in a position to share their power to help address this and enable a more representative heritage landscape. This presentation will describe some of the ways that THLHLA has supported Black- and Asian-led heritage activity in the local community, such as:
In every case, it takes time and effort to work with both community partners and potential funders proactively to ensure that the BAME heritage practitioner/s will be paid a reasonable fee for their work, and that they have decision-making responsibilities and authority over a project’s content and processes. Many if not most heritage projects loosely aim to engage BAME audiences but often fail due to lack of time and effort put into relationship building, or assumptions that community groups will want to be involved and will contribute their labour for free. Long-term planning, keeping in touch and nurturing relationships with potential partners over years of intermittent projects is essential. Otherwise risks develop that partnerships are not equitable, and may inadvertently reproduce power structures of oppression – leading BAME communities to reject the heritage sector more widely, as well as the offending institution.
FIONA BOURNE (presenting with Pamela Forde)
I hail from Moray in the northeast of Scotland and have lived in Edinburgh since 1994. Passing briefly through potential careers in archaeology (University of Glasgow 1992) and museum curatorship (University of Leicester 1994), I finally found the archive world in 1995 through volunteer work with the National Trust. Having initially been employed by the excessively named Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland and the Historic Scotland archive collections, moving to a UK wide trade union and professional association was considerably different but inspiring enough to make me choose to do the archival qualification required to stay there (University of Dundee 2011).
I've been working with the RCN collections for over 20 years now and have gained a rudimentary knowledge of the nursing profession if not the clinical work of a nurse. For me the RCN collections satisfy the usual archivists’ need for public enquiries, family history, hefty cataloguing backlogs and handling sensitive business records but they also contain pearls such as the oral history and photographic collections which make working here very special. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, being a peer reviewer for the Archives Accreditation Scheme and learning how to live with teenagers.
Do records represent the people who create them?
We would like to submit a panel presentation from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Nursing on the challenges peculiar to royal colleges as membership organisations and examining the question “do records represent the people who create them?”. Both institutions must consider the archival needs of a wide-ranging and numerous membership with varying degrees of engagement and within the confines of non-heritage related organisational goals. How do we make our collections relevant, meet user expectations and represent the people who create the records we manage?
I think I work for a corporate archive but if that’s true it’s an odd one, falling somewhere between evidential business archive and subject specialist repository. And as David Attenborough might say, “this is where we find that rare and elusive species, the membership organisation/the royal college”. In my case a not-for-profit professional association and trade union with 450,000 individual members otherwise known as the Royal College of Nursing. Everything it does is for the individual nurses and health care workers who make up its membership: lobbying, legal representation, education, research, best practice advice and personal welfare on behalf of individuals. Along the way the RCN archive has been created by recording these activities. The creators are staff, members in honorary and activist roles, ordinary members and people who aren’t members or nurses at all, but how well are members who fund the archive represented in the process of building it? Do they need to be? Is it even of use to them? I would argue that although archives like this one often have a haphazard start under pressure from enthusiasts, once they are up and running, we can do so much more. As professionals it’s our role to develop that relationship with members and anybody else who can help meet both our collection development and audience engagement goals. And we do, which I hope to show through our current engagement programme of events and exhibitions and volunteering. Nurses need us to give them heroes but they don’t need us to tell them about themselves and their work. They do however need us to tell everyone else what nursing is and who nurses are and that is how we interpret successfully meeting the archival needs of nurses – of our creators.
In terms of the Royal College of Physicians of London, this membership, examination, education organisation has 30,000 current members but has been operating for almost 500 years. Everything we do is focussed on members, standards in clinical care and public health. The archives are well established as a traditional element and our challenge is to make them useful, important and relevant to today’s members so they feel invested in the benefit they bring and in their future. However the public benefit is a strong emerging theme for us as a charity and how to balance the 2 is a complex situation for us sometimes.
Going to include in the talk:
I have been the Archivist and Records Manager at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for the past two years, where I have been working to set up the organisation’s first formal records management programme. I’ve worked in the sector since 2010 in a number of archive and records management roles, in the public, private and charity sectors.
Bringing the elephant into the room: introducing records management and promoting archival engagement at ZSL
The Zoological Society of London was founded as a learned society in 1826 – today as ZSL it is also two zoos, a conservation charity and a scientific institute. With such diverse work streams, and disciplines, how can one archivist make an impact?
This paper will demonstrate how I have engaged with staff from across the institution, making connections between historical events and up-to-date conservation work. Rather than just showing staff ‘nice old things’, my work has been informed by looking at how external researchers use the archive today, in order to demonstrate to staff that the records they are creating now will become the archive of the future.
This approach has also influenced the introduction of a records management programme for the first time across the organisation. In particular I will look at how I have implemented the policies across siloed departments at the two UK sites, as well as remotely to those teams engaged in field work worldwide.
As the solo archivist at ZSL since 2016, I have reached out to many other lone archivists and have benefited greatly from their professional advice. I therefore hope that my experience - both successes and failures - will be of use to others who find themselves in a similar position.
I am an Associate Professor at Northumbria University and the Director of both the University Gallery as well as Enterprise and External Engagement. Prior to that I was the Director of Online and Distance Learning and the Programme Leader for the Preventive Conservation MA. I was previously Head of Paper Conservation at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, prior to which I worked in the Western Pictorial Art section at the British Museum. My recent research has focused on issues regarding the impact of legal frameworks on the authenticity of contemporary art. I am a Fellow of both the Higher Education Academy and the International Institute for Conservation (IIC). I co-ordinated the working group for Education & Training for the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee (ICOM CC) for six years and sat on the ICOM CC Board of Directors during the last triennium.
The Northumbria University Oral History Project with the National Trust at Seaton Delaval
(Jean Brown, Neil Smith, Paul Ring, Manos Chatzakis & Gerald Moore)
The Northumbria University oral history project with the National Trust at Seaton Delaval uses technology to capture memories of Seaton Delaval from ordinary people who live near the property or who have visited or worked at the property. The collective memory of place helps provide an authenticity that is sometimes missing from the history books but which touches on the areas that interest the ordinary visitor. It allows people to record, edit and upload their memories to a cloud where they can be reviewed and edited. The project was developed through an alignment with a Creative FUSE project in partnership with Durham University. The partnership developed a pilot that focused on two different sites each with a common theme of prisoners. This enabled the team to compare and contrast the differing demands of the two sites and better understand the challenges and potential that they presented.
The Durham site was Northgate Prison, which was active until the early 19th century but is no longer in existence. The location of the prison is known and there is plentiful documentary evidence regarding its operation as well as detailed dimensions of the room sizes.
The other site was the East Wing of Seaton Delaval that was used to house German and Italian prisoners of war during world war two. There is a wealth of evidence remaining in the wing although it is not accessible to the visitor. There is documentary evidence at the Northumberland Records Office as well as the memories of those who knew the prisoners when they were children or who are in fact descended from them.
An important aspect of the app development was the consideration of the different types of visitor that might use it including large family groups, academics and young people since they would be searching for different types of experience. We also considered the size of the groups since that would influence the type of technology we used to deliver the app. The availability of the app was comparatively straightforward with regard to the National Trust since it could be made available from the National Trust website or at the property itself. The Durham site presented more of a challenge, but it was found that the local tourist board as well as shops and cafes in the area were keen to make it available since it attracted more visitor to their premises.
Although neither property could be accessed by the public, but both had a rich history to share with the visitor, which we believed technology could help deliver.
LYNN BRUCE (Presenting with Olivia Howarth)
I am a Project Cataloguer on the Pensions Appeal Tribunal Project which has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.
I am a former student trainee from the SCA ‘Skills for the Future’ programme and also a graduate of the University of Glasgow.
I have worked in various records management and archive roles, including Royal Opera House, Ceredigion Archives and with an investment bank.
‘I Am What You Would Call Done’: World War 1 Pensions Appeals Papers
Our project has been funded by the Wellcome Trust to catalogue and conserve First World War Pension Appeal Tribunal Records.
From 1919 onwards, servicemen or their widows or dependents, whose claims for war pensions had been denied, could apply to a Pensions Appeal Tribunal. The PT6 series, held by the National Records of Scotland, contains the pension appeal applications for c.30,000 Scottish servicemen who suffered from injuries sustained during the war, or who died afterwards from them.
We are cataloguing the records on a custom-built database which will be made publically accessible and searchable. The catalogue is at item level and we are adding Medical Subject Heading Codes to each record in order to describe the medical history of each applicant.
The appeals are organised in 288 boxes arranged alphabetically by month, from November 1919 to December 1932. Like most mass application formats of that period the records are fragile and on poor quality paper, frequently carbon copies. We are therefore re-housing the records in specially designed folders and boxes and highlighting conservation issues.
Our work will make this important resource accessible for both genealogists and medical researchers.
The poster will show the first phase of the project, the issues we have faced and the significant discoveries we have made.
Type: Poster Presentation
Stream: Records and Archives
Jenny is a Lecturer and Programme Director for the MA in Archives and Records Management at University College London. She has previously worked for institutions including the V&A Museum, The Royal Bank of Scotland and The National Archives, and is actively involved with the work of the Archives and Records Association as a part of the editorial team for Archives and Records and as a member of the Committee of the Section for Archives and Technology. Her research and teaching interests focus on the evolution of the archival profession in its ongoing interaction with all forms of technology.
Machines Make Records: The future of archival processing (Presentation Synopsis)
If the call for papers for this conference urges us to remember that it’s about people, this paper suggests that we should equally not forget about the machines, and the rise and rise of artificial intelligence.
The first people to use many archives are the archivists themselves. Their processing extracts knowledge from the material in front of them and then encodes it into both separate finding aids and the material itself through their ordering of it. In the digital age, archivists are having to find new ways and to develop new techniques to undertake this processing. For example in a world where metadata is itself just data, the separation between finding aid and material is no longer explicit. In a world where the ordering of material is undertaken at many more levels of abstraction from bitstream up, the mediation between physical and intellectual order is infinitely more complex. And, in a world where the amount of material to be dealt with has exploded exponentially, methods which operate on the purely human scale are no longer sufficient.
This presentation will summarise some of the ways in which archivists are currently trying to advance their processing ability, including through the use of new technology. In so doing, it will start to open up the process of archival sense-making, and to question how much of this sense-making, what aspects of it, we are happy to delegate to the machines – to computer/automated information processing - and how much of it, we feel we people must continue to do ourselves.
Dr Alan Butler completed his AHRC funded collaborative PhD called Performing LGBT Pride in Plymouth 1950 -2012 at Plymouth University in 2016. The project involved the formation of a specific LGBT history accession for the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office which sits alongside the ongoing Plymouth LGBT Community Archive project. This archive is maintained by volunteers from the Pride in Plymouth Community Interest Company, of which Alan is a founding director.
Alan also maintains a Research Fellow role with Plymouth University and is currently developing the Plymouth LGBT Archive in new ways to meet the challenges which exist in uncovering, collecting, archiving and then passing on LGBT heritage to future generations.
Title: Archiving stories of shame with a sense of Pride
LGBT+ identities have tended to be performed in the moment, in spaces and situations deemed safe to do so. This has often led to a lack of LGBT+ representation in the archive, as these lives tend not to be create the materials traditionally regarded as appropriate for the archive.
As a result, these histories are seen to lack a sense of authenticity which is more usually provided by the unconsidered narratives that surround heritage. This, in turn, impacts on the next generation of LGBT+ young people who are not handed this heritage in more traditional means.
This paper explored attempts to directly challenge this through taking an untraditional archive into schools and by working directly with the children’s charity Barnardos.
Community Archives: People’s archives kept by the people, for the people. A Community Archive and Heritage Group (CAHG) panel
I am the Archivist & Collections Officer (Recognised Collections) for West Dunbartonshire Council. I am responsible for the records of West Dunbartonshire which date from the 14th century to the present day and document the people, industry and governance of the area. I also manage the Sewing Machine Collection & Singer Archive, a collection recognised as nationally significant by the Scottish Government. In addition to my work with West Dunbartonshire, I am due to complete a part-time PhD in Information Studies at the University of Glasgow later this year. Prior to becoming an archivist I studied Philosophy and English Literature before completing an MSc Information Management and Preservation in 2011, both at the University of Glasgow.
Talking about Sewing Machines: Oral History, Community Engagement, and #SingerStories
In September 2017, West Dunbartonshire’s Heritage Team launched #SingerStories – a project which included a community oral history programme to explore the legacy of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory in Clydebank.
Once the largest factory of its kind in the world, employing almost 15,000 workers, the Singer Factory closed in 1980. Its closure, along with the closure of the neighbouring shipyards, transformed Clydebank from a vibrant industrial hub to a post-industrial town struggling to find a new identity.
With the factory now closed for almost four decades, there is an increasingly limited window of opportunity to capture former Singer workers’ memories and experiences of life in the factory. However, within the local community there is often a reluctance to participate in formal oral history programmes due to a feeling that these stories of everyday working life are not of sufficient historical importance.
The #SingerStories project has assembled a network of community oral historians who can collect stories from their peers: the neighbours, friends, family members who worked in the Singer factory. By training volunteer oral historians from within the subject community, #SingerStories has been able to access traditionally hard to reach parts of that community while empowering the community to shape its own history and identity.
This paper will discuss the process of developing a peer to peer oral history network, the potential for intergenerational engagement such a network affords, the way in which it facilitates the construction of community identity, and the challenges for archivists in preserving these intra-community conversations.
Lucy studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she wrote a dissertation about a collection of books at the Holburne Museum. After working with books in a different capacity as an Assistant School Librarian on the Isle of Wight, she embarked on her conservation studies at West Dean College in 2014. She graduated in 2016 with a Post-Graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Books and Library Materials, with a work placement at the Bodleian Library under her belt. Lucy then interned at Canterbury Cathedral, writing a series of blog posts documenting her time there: https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/heritage/conservation/book-and-paper-conservation/inside-the-front-cover/. She is currently working as a Book and Paper Conservation trainee with Lizzie Neville in Penzance, where she is learning to teach other people about book conservation. This will be her first time speaking at a conference and she hopes the experience will help her with future job applications.
An Intern's Year - Conservation and Community at Canterbury Cathedral
A sense of community drives Canterbury Cathedral's mission, and therefore becomes an important factor in a Book and Paper Conservation Internship. The intern reflects on her twelve months working with the people of the Cathedral and how this influenced her learning, and ultimately, her future job prospects. The presentation will explore how a conservation blog series engaged a community, and how learning about respect of both collections and people is paramount for the care of collections.
Religious communities such as those at Canterbury Cathedral create beautiful objects, and the archival collections are a representation of the people of the history of the Cathedral. It is important to be able to maintain and make accessible these records to be able to learn from history. The shepherds of these records include librarians, archivists, volunteers and conservators. There were many points throughout her twelve months where the intern was allowed the opportunity to work with other people looking after records - it is important to share knowledge and experience with these people in order to do the best we can for the collections.
In the 21st Century, using platforms such as blog posts have really helped to communicate our work to the wider conservation community - in particular, following the progress of the conservation of a 17th Century book. The blog posts will be explored as a way to increase access to collections, and the case study will act as conservation lessons learnt along the way.
Finally, the emphasis on community penetrated every aspect of the internship - from being a part of the community and knowing that the work completed was valuable, to learning about how respect governed conservation choices. The experiences as a whole have been able to be used in further employment, and can be taken beyond into the larger conservation community.
DEBBIE ADELE COOPER
Debbie Adele Cooper is an artist, curator and participation creative.
Her artwork is based around photography, sculpture, sound and installation. Much of her work is influenced by archives, historical stories, materials and practices. She explores old and new processes such as glass plate photography and cyanotypes, interconnecting these with digital and new technologies. Debbie teaches glass plate photography at StreetLevel Photoworks in Glasgow, and other institutions across the UK.
Glass plates; from archive to new plates, an artistic journey
Debbie has created participatory projects and new artworks in collaboration with archives including: W W Winter photography, Dartmoor Prison, Buxton Museum, St Helens Council and many others. The work she has made in response to these collections has been featured in national and international press and exhibited nationally and internationally.
In 2013 a chance meeting with W W Winter Ltd, a photography studio in Derby changed Debbie's practice forever. Stepping into their cellar she discovered the beauty of the glass plate photograph and made it her mission to work with the collection and to make new glass plates.
She went on to become their artist in residence funded by Arts Council England and Derby City Council. During her residency she uncovered stories that captivated her and many others, leading to national and international press articles about the studio and her work.
Debbie will share her journey of working with the collection, the impact it has made on her practice, and the importance (and difficulty) of reviving lost techniques and histories.
Since her residency Debbie has gone on to produce and curate exhibitions and publications from the W W Winter collection. Work from her residency and W W Winter archive was recently shown at Beijing Photo Festival in 2017, and is now touring China with support from the British Council.
DARREN COYNE (presenting with Victoria Hoyle and Gina Larrisey)
I am Project Manager at The Care Leavers’ Association (CLA), taking forward work in the field of access to social care files, criminal justice and policy, as well as an independent consultant. I am a founding member of the Access to Care Records Campaign Group (ACRCG) pushing for policy change recognising the life course of care leavers.
I spent my childhood in care, left with no formal education, homeless, jobless and in custody. I caught up with my lost education in my 20s at The University of Leeds (BA Sociology, MA Social Research) with research focused on exclusion, identity, labelling, social divisions and the law as experienced by ‘excluded groups’.
Before the CLA I worked in racial justice and community development, establishing community led projects within youth justice through the Racial Equality Council, employing a framework which develops inclusive approaches to inter-community relations using human rights and social justice models.
I am a recent graduate of the Camberwell MA Conservation course, where I learned a diverse range of skills for the treatment and repair of damaged volumes, flat works and photographic materials; prior to this I also attained a graduate diploma in Conservation Studies from the University of Lincoln, where I studied materials science and approaches to the repair of historic objects.
My recent role at Berkshire Record Office as Project Conservator entailed the treatment of early 19th century volumes and documents, from documentation to storage. I have written widely for the University of Arts London raising awareness of topics like ethics and informed materials choice in the student art community. I have worked as a freelance conservator and bookbinder for a range of clients, and I am a member of the Society of Bookbinders, an associate member of ICON and a Freeman of the Stationer’s Company.
The Coleshill Project: Approaches to fugitive media on paper substrates
Deposited at Berkshire Records Office, the ‘Coleshill Project’ encompasses a collection in excess of 140 working documents which provide a vibrant record of life and management of an early 19th century estate, surviving the two fires which razed the property.
Of the documents conserved, a strong component of these were maps and plans which featured the use of fugitive media such as watercolours and iron gall ink. Having originally been stored in exposed and inappropriate conditions in a barn, the project aim was to take remedial action to retain the original aesthetic of the materials and restore their functionality.
A particular challenge was presented by the severity of mechanical damage sustained by fragmented maps. In order to meet the treatment aims, a complex treatment methodology was developed to address the needs of the fugitive media and unify the damaged substrates.
This talk will compare the disparate approach to several different maps and plans in order to achieve the best possible results, and the role in which new approaches to utilising the fixative Cyclododecane were trialled.
In 1963 I graduated from Southampton University with a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering. I emigrated to Canada and joined Abitibi Paper, firstly in their central engineering office in Toronto and then as a project engineer at Iroquois Falls Mill in North Ontario. My wife and I returned to the UK in 1968 and I joined Wiggins Teape, later Arjo Wiggins, as a project engineer and in due course became Manager of Corporate Engineering for the group. During that time I worked on many projects to make a wide range of papers in a number of different mills in the UK and Europe. In 1994 I became a consultant and worked as a project manager at several UK paper mills and retired in 2004. I joined the British Association of Paper Historians in 1989 and was Chairman for a number of years, I am now it’s Treasurer. I have had the pleasure of talking about paper, it’s manufacture and history at several ARA Conferences, BAPH events and at meetings of other groups.
Surface Treatments of Paper
One of the most important purposes of paper is to enable people to make records and from the earliest days of paper-making the surface has been finished to suit the final use of the paper. The techniques of the Chinese and then the Arabs for giving paper a smooth and/or gloss finish were adapted by Europeans to suit the needs of the printing press. As printing techniques developed papers changed to suit their requirements. When paper was produced continuously by the paper-machine surface finishing techniques were adapted to suit.
The range of papers manufactured increased and finishing techniques altered, and with new engineering materials off-machine surface finishing could be done on-machine.
Paper surfaces can also be altered by coating with different materials and using different techniques adapted from hand manufacture. Continuous coating started on off-machine coaters and now many coatings can be applied on-machine.
Paper is a material that can undergo mechanical deformation and many subtle patterns can be produced on the surface by embossing and the nature of the paper itself can be altered by creping and embossing.
I am currently Archivist for the Campbell family, dukes of Argyll, based at Inveraray Castle. As an undergraduate, I studied Divinity at the University of Aberdeen and qualified as an archivist at University College London. I have worked for Unilever plc, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (Project Manager. A Union for a’ That), the Access to Mineral Heritage project (an online gateway to the mineral heritage of the UK) and, most recently, for National Records of Scotland, where I was Administrator of the Scottish Register of Tartans and Education Officer. I was the National Archives Institutions Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, 2014-15 and was awarded Clore/AHRC funding for research into the users of archives in Scotland.
One size does not fit all: accepting the diversity and value of remote record keepers and giving them professional support
Working in a remote and rural location, professional archivists are conspicuous by their absence. At the same time, these areas are often particularly rich in history and culture, accessed through local museums, heritage centres and historical sites, and both dependent on and supportive of tourism. These museums and heritage centres are mostly volunteer-led and hold collections of both artefacts and archives.
Against this backdrop it is unhelpful to be overly protective of the role of the professional archivist and to draw lines defining what volunteers should be ‘allowed’ to do. These volunteers may be unpaid, with limited professional archival skills and, often, retired, but they bring their own set of skills to their roles, often being ‘walking encyclopaedias’ of knowledge about the history of their local communities.
ARA’s revised CPD programme includes a Foundation level which, at face value, would appear to offer these local volunteers a framework for training and developing professional skills. But how realistic an offer is it? Minimal budgets prohibit membership fees, the average age of volunteers suggests that CPD for a future career is unlikely to be a motivator – it’s all about the here and now, where will they find mentors and supporters, and how will they combat the significant logistical and financial challenges in accessing (even free) training opportunities from these remote communities?
At the same time, my experience delivering the HLF funded Written in the Landscape project shows that there is an appetite and desire to learn how to do the job as well as possible. The interest and participation in the programme of archival skills training delivered free of charge to community partners in Argyll in 2017/18 evidences the desire for training and guidance, and the benefits that can result.
The challenges facing record keepers in remote locations are not going to change: we, as professional archivists, have a duty to support them in a way that works for them.
JAMES ELDER (presenting with Anne Archer)
After graduating with a History degree in 1997, I joined the UK Civil Service. I took on a variety of roles at the Department for Work and Pensions: in policy, governance, communications and regulation; as well as loans to the Cabinet Office and Railway Pensions Commission. Latterly I was Board Secretary to two public bodies implementing major changes to workplace pensions. In 2012 I left for a career change and break, completing the UCL Archives and Records Management MA. After qualifying I spent a year at Schroders, and am now Archives Manager at BT.
BT Archives tweets at @BTArchives and I tweet at @jamesofputney and blog at willtherealjamespleasestandup.wordpress.com (both in a personal capacity).
KIRSTY FIFE (presenting with Hannah Henthorne)
Kirsty is an archivist and curator currently working as Curator of Library and Archives at the National Science and Media Museum. She qualified as an archivist in 2013 after studying at UCL, where she wrote her dissertation on archiving personal zines (self-published pamphlets). In previous roles she has worked in outreach, engagement, interpretation and cataloguing roles at the Parliamentary Archives, Screen Archive South East and Hoxton Hall. Between 2016 and 2018 she collaborated with Hannah Henthorn on a research project exploring experiences of marginalisation in the archive sector workforce. Outside her paid employment she is an active cultural organiser involved with autonomous spaces. In October 2018 she will be starting a PhD, focusing on methodologies for documenting and archiving UK DIY music subcultures.
Brick Walls and Tick Boxes: Experiences of Marginalised Workers in the UK Archive Workforce
The National Archives’ recent strategic vision for the archive sector, Archives Unlocked, identifies the need for diversity to be embedded in all parts of the archives sector. As heritage workers, we need to ensure that “the rich diversity of society is reflected in our archives’ collections, users and workers” (The National Archives, 2017: 13). However, despite strategic aims to diversify the sector and our collections, there are still many significant structural barriers which prevent the workforce from diversifying and achieving these goals.
In 2017 Hannah Henthorn and Kirsty Fife began collaborating on a grassroots para-academic research project to explore the experiences of archive workers from marginalised backgrounds. The project, now at its conclusion, collected data about experiences of work and qualification including entry routes, study, career progression and workplaces. As two archive workers also disadvantaged in the sector, we wanted our research to articulate a common set of experiences and frustrations that are often verbally shared but rarely documented or consulted when developing diversity and inclusion strategies and schemes.
This presentation will share the key findings of the research and propose a number of ways in which we can all take action to open up the archives sector. We will also reflect upon our experiences of conducting diversity research and the opportunities that have followed from our first papers. By articulating these shared experiences, we hope to recentre discussions about diversity and inclusion around the lived experience and needs of those currently on the margins of the archive workforce.
I am a Reader in Archival Studies and Oral History in the Department of Information Studies, University College London. I am also the Vice-chair of the Community Archives and Heritage Group and have been a member of the Group’s committee since 2005. Until 2015 he was director of the Archives and Records Management Masters programme at UCL and the chair of the UK and Ireland Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research (FARMER) between 2008 and 2011. He is presently engaged in on-going research with international colleagues relating to community-based archives activity, archival approaches to social justice, access to information rights and international archival education. (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dis/people/andrewflinn). He is presently jointly writing and editing (with Jeannette Bastian) a second Facet volume on community archives (forthcoming, 2018)
Communities keeping and using their own records. Thoughts on the impact of community archives and the work of Community Archives and Heritage Group
This paper will briefly survey the history and significance of community archives in the UK, outline the purpose and work of the Community Archives and Heritage Group since its formation in 2005, and reflect on attempts to better understand and evaluate the different impacts of community archiving here and internationally.
The Community Archives panel synopsis:
The practice of communities looking after archives about their communities, with or without professional intervention or support, is a long established and it is now 14 years since the publication of the Archive Task Force 2004 report Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future which noted that ‘archives in the community are as important to society as those in public collections’ and the formation of Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG, originally the Community Archives Development Group). Although an ARA Section / Interest Group since 2011, this will be the first time that CAHG has organised a panel for the annual conference. The panel’s presentations will all address the theme of the conference ‘People Make Records’ and each of the cross cutting themes, of communities being represented and reflected in records, communities looking after records and communities accessing and making use of records about them. Different speakers, all with first-hand experience of community archiving will speak about the significance of the work done by community archives, the challenges they face and the potential for collaboration with formal archive and heritage bodies.
Other panel members:
Jack Latimer email@example.com
Marion Kenny, Qisetna - Talking Syria firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Butler, Pride in Plymouth and Community Archives and Heritage Group Treasurer
I’m County Archivist of Gloucestershire and a registered archivist and records manager. I am currently leading a £3m+ project to transform Gloucestershire Archives into a sustainable future-proofed service. I’ve been a local government employee attracted to cathedral cities throughout my career, starting off in Greater London (now LMA), spending 11 years in Hampshire, before moving to Kent then onto Gloucestershire in 2005. I enjoy partnership working and started early when collaborating with IT suppliers and colleagues in Hampshire and Suffolk Record Offices to help develop CALM software for archivists. As Canterbury Cathedral Archivist/Kent Assistant County Archivist, I was in my element reporting to the Dean & Chapter, County and City Councils. In Gloucestershire I’m still working in partnership, this time with a range of charitable organisations and community groups, as well as professional groups such as Archives First.
Working in collaboration with other people – what works and what doesn’t?
Throughout my career, I’ve been drawn to working in partnership with others - archivists, other heritage professionals, information and ICT colleagues, and system suppliers – in the strong belief that the rewards of working together are greater than ploughing one’s one furrow.
As part of the vision for Gloucestershire Heritage Hub (opening summer 2018), Gloucestershire Archives are now working in a truly collaborative way with volunteers and local communities. This is more than sharing the same building or enhancing catalogues. It involves running a truly joined-up service, with joint training sessions and events, a shared website… Drawing on the experience of five years of community-run libraries in Gloucestershire, what lessons can record offices learn? Is it realistic to try running an archives service with volunteers? What has been involved in planning for the new service delivery model? I will share early results, analyse pros and cons, examine how collaboration is affecting the service we offer and its potential impact on the archives we collect (and the people in them).
I will also use other case studies to draw out what makes a successful partnership, and what can be learnt from less successful examples. I shall conclude by examining the role of collaboration and networking in positioning archives services for a sustainable future.
PAMELA FORDE (presenting with Fiona Bourne)
I have been working as an archivist since 1996, mainly in the not for profit sector. I am the archive manager at the Royal College of Physicians of London, a membership organisation for medical doctors which celebrates its 500 year anniversary this year. I manage the historical archives going back over 7 centuries, delivering research facilities for history of medicine students, family historians and writers. I am also collecting members’ stories via an oral history programme.
I have also been developing and delivering records management programmes for current records in all my roles.
I have been working as a data protection officer since 2008. I am a qualified data protection practitioner with a PC.dp., delivering privacy compliance programmes for my organisation.
I am a records manager and archivist. I hold a MA in History as well as a master degree in Information Studies with a focus on information technologies, the later from the Ecole Nationale des Chartes in Paris. Firstly, I worked as an archivist in charge of literary and artistic archives and worked on an EAD project for describing manuscripts. After that, I specialized in the design of information systems for managing records and archives, both in paper and electronic form. I worked at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I was a member of the team that designed a national program for digital archives. In 2013, I joined the french oil and gas company, Total, as Head of the digital archives unit. I was in charge of reinventing our approach on managing digital materials and conducted a project for implementing a new electronic records management system and a digital repository. At this moment, I am in charge of a new unit whose role is to provide consulting services for information management purposes (records and archives including historical materials).
Promoting access to records through data visualization tools: from a record-centered approach to a user-centered perspective
Total is the fourth largest global oil & gas company founded in France in 1924. The Archives and Records Management Department is responsible for managing the lifecycle of a record form its creation to its destruction and for preserving the historical archives of the company.
Traditionally, records management (RM) is understood within our company as a way to identify records and define retention schedules to manage their life-cycle in order to avoid their unfortunate misuse and to prevent their loss. RM is perceived as a shield to protect and we, records and archives professionals, have been working on explaining to what extent RM policies are an excellent protection to manage and reduce risks. We try to provide access to the right file at the right moment. Even if this approach is fundamental, we believe that it is necessary to make a shift. We also need to provide and promote access to unexpected information while dealing with data protection issues. We decided to explore data visualization tools for RM purposes in an attempt to turn our record-centered approach into a user-centered perspective. We used to protect records, manage records, preserve records... it was all about the “records”. Users came in second position. What does it mean to improve access to records in a multinational firm with a complex legal environment? We decided to adopt data visualization tools for records management purposes. This paper will present the examples and the results of this approach.
TIM GOLLINS (presenting with Gillian Mapstone)
I am currently Head of Digital Archiving at The National Records of Scotland and programme director lead their Digital Preservation Programme.
Since starting my career in the UK technical civil service in 1987, I have worked on Information Security, Information Management, Design and Development on numerous large government information projects. I joined The National Archives of the UK (TNA) in 2008 and as Head of Digital Preservation lead their work on digital preservation and cataloguing. I worked on the design and implementation of a new digital records infrastructure embodying the “parsimonious preservation" approach I developed. I recently completed a secondment in the School of Computing Science at Glasgow University investigating the challenges of digital sensitivity review. I hold a BSc in Chemistry (Exeter),an MSc in Computing Science (UCL), and an MSc in Information Management (Sheffield). I was a Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition for 6 years from 2009.
I am a professional archivist who has previously worked as digital archivist and data policy manager at the National Library of Ireland, and digital archivist at the Digital Repository of Ireland. My current role is at the academic publisher Springer Nature, where I support research data management services and the implementation of standardised data policies.
Since 2014 I have been a doctoral candidate in the School of History and Archives at University College Dublin, where my research is investigating the connections between archival theory and practice and the management of research data.
Positioning recordkeepers as data management professionals
This paper will discuss records professionals as people looking after records, with a particular focus on the people who look after research data and the scientific record. Research data management, data curation and data preservation, whilst long-standing skills areas in their own right, are relatively new skills to many parts of the research institution and are most often required within universities to assist researchers in looking after their research outputs. Although there is an increasing need for this type of support for researchers, there is little consensus on who should have overall responsibility for providing it: the role may be filled by librarians, the research office, IT support, and in many cases university archivists or records managers. With a lack of consensus on the professional expertise required, those working in data management are investigating new ways to approach issues which are commonly addressed by records professionals in their day-to-day work. Challenges such as appraisal and preservation have been identified in some research-performing institutions as new problems to be solved, without necessarily acknowledging the existing expertise within the archive and records manager professions.
In this presentation we will describe the current role of records professionals in data management, and the specific expertise and skills which we can bring to this emerging area. We will also present the work that a group of records professionals are currently undertaking to raise the profile of archivists and records managers as ‘people who can look after data’ in the international data management community.
RHIANNON GRIFFITHS (presenting with Sally Hopkins)
In July 2009 I became part of the newly formed ‘Preservation Team’ at Gwent Record Office, which later became Gwent Archives. During my time as a Preservation Assistant I helped prepare the collection for relocation from the County Hall basement strong rooms in Cwmbran, Torfaen to the purpose built repository in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent.
In October 2010 I enrolled on the ARA Conservation Certificate Scheme. During my time as a Trainee Conservator at Gwent Archives I have set up a new Conservation Studio within the repository at Ebbw Vale and spent invaluable time with many of the ARA Conservation Certificate Instructors at their own studios around the U.K.
In November 2015 I became a fully qualified Conservator and was appointed the position of Senior Conservator at Gwent Archives. I joined the ARA Archives Conservation Training Scheme (ACTS) Committee as Secretary in 2017.
A Sporting Chance: Preserving the Records of Newport Rugby and Athletic Club
In 2015, Gwent Archives were contacted by the Friends of Newport Rugby (FoNR) when a large quantity of papers were found in the attic of the old club house at Rodney Parade, the club’s ground. The building was earmarked for demolition. The transfer of the more vulnerable material was begun immediately but as the physical risks to the large collection became more evident, the transfer assumed greater urgency until the whole collection was taken in. It constitutes an unrivalled sporting archive and is without doubt of national importance.
The club's origins date to 1875 when Newport Cricket, Athletic and Football Club was formed, establishing the first integrated sports club in Wales. It became Newport Athletic Club in 1895/6 by which time it hosted a wide range of sports and the club and many individuals associated with it had earned great distinction. Its sporting diversity is well documented in the club’s archives and makes the collection an outstanding resource, not only for the history of sport but also for the economic and social history of Newport and south east Wales. It includes an important body of material relating to World War One.
Altogether, 88 boxes of loose leaf material, 146 bindings and approximately 105 photographs were relocated to Gwent Archives with the help of the Friends of Newport Rugby Club. Funding from the National Manuscript Conservation Trust was granted in July 2017 to help preserve the collection. For the project, 14 Minute Books and 170 WWI letters have been selected for interventive conservation treatment.
The aim of the presentation is to give an overview of this, the first project officially funded under the NMCT and MALD (Welsh Government) partnership. The partnership between the FoNR, the project’s Preservation Assistant and Gwent Archives volunteers, has been fundamental to the project’s progress. How it has served each partner and the conservation and preservation work undertaken, will be the focus of the talk. The paper will also consider what Gwent Archives hopes to accomplish through this specific collection, using 'A Sporting Chance’ as a springboard for future projects.
MICHAELA HART (Presenting with Nicola Laurent)
I am a Senior Archivist at the Department of Health and Human Services in Melbourne, Australia. My current focus is a digital preservation project, working with photographs, magnetic media and artefacts that are of value to people who spent time in institutional care. Along with Nicola Laurent, I am committed to progressing the conversation around emotional labour and archival practice, and how we can embed more trauma informed practices.
Prior to becoming an archivist my background was in nursing and community development work, during which time I completed a Masters Degree in Peace studies. This which gave me a firm understanding of the critical role that archives play in justice and peace processes. The long term impact of structural violence and inequality continues to motivate my work and my ongoing goal is to seek opportunities that blend archival practice and research in spaces that support social change.
Looking after the people behind the records: vicarious trauma and empathy in archival practice
Moving away from the perception of archivists as passive custodians to one where conscious intervention and greater agency co-exist with the demands of traditional archival practice, there is also now an increasing awareness of the emotional consequences of exposure to archival records with potentially traumatising content. Introducing the topic of vicarious trauma into our professional discourse is vital for it to become a recognised risk factor for archives and recordkeeping staff, enabling those in need to access support and begin to create a global community of practice.
This paper will discuss the need to look after the people who are looking after the records, and the ongoing benefits of doing so for the individuals, users, and the archives they work with. Introducing contemporary literature from other professions, it will explore why we need to acknowledge vicarious trauma, outline symptoms, identify support mechanisms and make recommendations for implementation within archival institutions.
The second part of the paper will introduce the parallel concept of vicarious empathy. This is developed from the understanding that exposure to the stories of others can give us greater empathy and understanding. Discussed together, vicarious trauma and vicarious empathy can inform a more holistic approach to archival practice which will be developed by looking at how these can influence archival practices such as appraisal, description & release decisions as well as the training and support of staff and volunteers, hopefully leading to trauma informed archival practice.
I began with a BA in English and Archaeology from UCC where I specialised in Old English. I completed my MA in Archives and Records Management through distance learning with CAIS whilst working in the Library Department of the Council and graduated in June 2014. I have been a full member of ARA since 2015.
In February I moved within the Council to form part of the Archive service as Assistant Archivist and Assistant Digital Records Manager. I work not only with the archival collections, but also supporting the roll out of a complete information management system for the Council whilst caring for and equally destroying unnecessary records.
Cat lover, horse rider, avid reader, obsessed traveller - order subjective.
'Archive Anxiety': An Introduction
This presentation will provide an introduction to the concept of Archive Anxiety, which originated from research conducted for a MA dissertation with the Centre for Archive and Information Studies in Dundee.
The main aim of this presentation is to highlight the preconceptions and feelings which users, (particularly first-time users), of archives have. For example, the view that archives are dusty papers held in a basement which are sternly guarded. It will also explore the triggers that affect those users, such as the security measures imposed in archives.
Looking at these influences, the presentation will offer some solutions that can be introduced by archivists and record professionals to help alleviate archive anxiety in users.
This topic is particularly relevant to this years Conference topic of ‘People make Records’ which will challenge the profession to think not only about who makes a record, but also who uses them.
Gail worked her way up from grass roots housing organising to become Assistant Director of Housing for Manchester City Council before taking on the role of CEO of The Pankhurst Trust (Incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) in 2014. Throughout her career she has fought hard to ensure that the most vulnerable groups in our society are heard and their needs understood. She is committed to challenging gender inequality and tackling the social injustice and violence against women and girls this engenders, and can think of no better place to do this from than The Pankhurst Centre, birthplace of the Suffragette Movement.
Widening the circle - a panel discussion about independence and support
Part Heritage, part Women’s Centre and Domestic Violence and Abuse Support service provider, The Pankhurst Trust is committed to telling the powerful story of the women who won the vote, and to doing this in a way that continues to inspire those who dare to challenge gender inequality. I will be talking about the barriers we face in capturing and sharing women’s activism in a way that remains relevant to heritage seekers and a new generation of Suffragette. I will touch on the dilemma of knowing what to, and how to, archive the ‘Deeds Not Words’ world of feminist struggle, and exploring the need for different approaches to enable access for harder to reach women and girls.
HANNAH HENTHORN (presenting with Kirsty Fife)
I am an Archives and Records Management student at the University of Dundee. I was awarded the Diversity Education Bursary from the National Archives in 2015, to fund my studies. I have previously worked for the National Records of Scotland and Aberdeen Art Gallery, as well as volunteering at the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Gloucestershire Archives, and the National Archives. I am based in Edinburgh, and currently working on a cataloguing project with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Since January 2017, I have been working on a research project with Kirsty Fife, highlighting the experiences of marginalised workers in the UK archives sector, as well as the need for alternative routes into the profession.
SARAH HIGGINS (Presenting with William Kilbride)
I am a lecturer in Information Management, Libraries and Archives at Aberystwyth University, where I teach across all programmes; and am the Director of the MSc in Digital Curation. My research focuses on the lifecycle management of digital materials by archives services, libraries and other information professionals. I was formerly an advisor with the Digital Curation Centre where I led the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model Project and the standards advisory function. Previous roles include Technical Archivist at Edinburgh University Library and Geographic Information research Officer at the British Antarctic Survey. I have co-edited Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association since 2013.
Encoding Ethics: professional practice and digital preservation
Digital curation addresses the technical challenges, organisational tasks and resource implication of managing digital materials. At its heart is the preservation of the characteristics of a record while maintaining persistence and access to digital data. However, the ease with which digital material can be manipulated or compromised means that the task requires a broad range of skills, knowledge and perspectives drawn from different disciplines. Digital curation is emerging as a new meta-discipline of information science that draws on established disciplines such as archival science, library science and computer science. It has developed its own professional bodies, theories and concepts, bodies of knowledge and educational programmes. These have highlighted new ethical concerns for practitioners surrounding professional competence and accountability, planning and implementation, standards and best practice, persistent access, use and reuse, copyright, privacy and accuracy. Arguably the profession now needs a tailored Code of Ethics to guide the conduct and professional development of its workforce. This session asks: What are the generic and specific ethical concerns for digital curation? Who would need to be involved in the discussions to prepare a code of ethics? How would this differ from codes for archivists? How can we move forward on drawing up such code for digital curation? The conversation has already begun in the published literature and prominent conferences. This interactive workshop will build on this to seek archives sector opinion and input to the process.
JONATHAN HINES (Presenting with Erica Kotze)
As Managing Director of Architype, the UK’s leading sustainable architects, I am driven by a burning desire to create, innovate and challenge convention in order make great design that has a positive long-term impact on its community, and the planet. We design schools, housing, offices, university, archive and museum buildings
The success of the UK’s first passivhaus repository, the Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre, in delivering exceptionally stable environmental conditions at minimum energy has enabled Architype to apply a similar approach to solving poor conditions in existing archive buildings, and in designing further new archive stores.
We are passionate about eliminating the all too common performance gap in UK buildings, and so focus on delivering buildings that actually work as designed, and as our clients expect.
Enabling People in collection care through controlled environments
Many archives all over the UK struggle to stabilise their repository conditions, fighting against building design and building systems that are not fit for purpose.
Repeated failure to maintain stable temperatures and humidity within the required parameters has in many cases lead to the creation of a full-time role to monitor and intervene with the building systems as required; greatly effecting precious resource and budget for many facilities.
The effect on the people that are responsible for archives is far reaching, sending a ripple effect throughout organisations, and in many cases, disabling ‘business as usual.’
As discussed at the ARA Conference in 2017, the strategy for the new Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre has sought to challenge these common difficulties with passive methods, a design choice which was not only cheaper to build and run, but that has proved to deliver consistently stable results.
Architype, the Architects of this pioneering project are now applying the same passive control methodology to a number of underperforming existing repositories, including the St Andrew’s University Library and Special Collections Store.
St. Andrew’s University Preventative Conservation Officer, Erica Kotze will uncover the issues faced by the university collection store due to the issues with control of environmental conditions. Jonathan Hines MD of Architype, will outline the techniques employed to forensically survey the building, and identify the various causes for the poor environmental conditions.
Jonathan will outline the temporary and permanent measures then instigated and present an exclusive look at the monitored data prior to the survey, the impact of initial interventions, and the ongoing monitoring to demonstrate the effect of permanent improvements in building fabric, building systems and building controls.
The remarkable and convincing results of this project aim to offer existing archives across the country a feasible, cost effective option to perform better; simplifying the unnecessary complexity of environmental control, so that archive staff can focus on the real job in hand.
Erica will contextualise the project, recounting how scepticism for a passive strategy proved to be unfounded as their journey to passive preservation progressed.
Jonathan will also highlight how similar passive measures have been further developed in the design of two other new building archives that are currently in development - a Paper Store and a Large Objects Store for the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
SALLY HOPKINS (presenting with Rhiannon Griffiths)
In July 2014 I began studying MSc Care of Collections at Cardiff University and became Conservation Assistant and Visitor Experience Assistant at National Trust, Aberdulais Tin Works & Waterfall, where I remained until January 2018.
Following my graduation in 2016 my thesis; investigating the representation and communication of Integrated Pest Management Data, was published and presented in ICOM-CC’s 18th Triennial Conference in Copenhagen, 2017, by myself, Jane Henderson and Dr. Christian Baars. We have subsequently furthered the research and hope to publish these findings further.
In 2016 I became temporary Conservation Assistant at National Trust, Dyffryn House & Gardens and also became Volunteer Consulting Preventive Conservator on a project to conserve the object collection of Newport Athletic Club. Following this, in 2017 I took on the role of Preservation Assistant at Gwent Archives, where I work helping to preserve the archive of the collection.
OLIVIA HOWARTH (Presenting with Lynn Bruce)
I am a Project Cataloguer on the Pensions Appeal Tribunal Project which has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.
I am a former student trainee from the SCA ‘Skills for the Future’ programme and also a graduate of the University of Glasgow.
In my previous trainee and volunteer roles with the University of Glasgow, I have worked with alumni papers which reflect the work of former students in WW1 and WW2. I have most recently been working at Bletchley Park where interacting with veterans and their families helped foster an interest in the social aspects of military history.
VICTORIA HOYLE (presenting with Darren Coyne and Gina Larrisey)
I am a Research Associate in the Department of Information Studies at UCL and am currently working on MIRRA: Memory – Identity – Rights in Record - Access. The project explores information rights in child social care records in the context of English law and social work practice and is co-produced by a group of academic researchers and care leavers. My research interests are in information rights, engagement discourse, community archives and participatory approaches to research and practice.
I am completing a part time PhD in public history at the University of York. This research considers the impact of heritage discourse and values on engagement between archival institutions and community audiences. I recently edited a special issue of Archives and Records focused on archives and public history.
I have previously worked as an archivist in both university and local government settings, most recently as City Archivist with Explore York Libraries and Archives.
‘I’m not a historical case, I’m still breathing’: Access to records for memory and identity
Records and archives give families and individuals access to shared histories and values. In family settings, written records and photographs document significant events, celebrations and milestones. But for some people, such as those who grew up in care, these materials are missing. They may have significant gaps in their memories and unanswered questions about their own lives. In the absence of family archives they turn to subject access requests to see the records held about themselves and their families by local authorities, charities, schools, the NHS and business archives. These organisational records are their personal histories.
As archives and records practitioners we recognise the social and emotional value of records for supporting memory and identity. However, it can be difficult to balance the needs of the individual with issues of data protection, confidentiality and organisational culture. This workshop will explore ways of maximising identity and memory work with collections. It will be an opportunity to discuss, share and overcome the challenges posed by supporting people like adult care leavers. This workshop will share ongoing research at UCL as part of the MIRRA: Memory – Identity – Rights in Records – Access project. It will be delivered by the research team, including care leavers and advocates who will talk about their own positive and negative experiences of recordkeeping and access to records. It will be hands on and constructive, feeding back into the research process, and is particularly relevant in the light of the implementation of GDPR and the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
I am currently the conservator for the Cambridge University Press Archive held at Cambridge University Library. The conservation project began in 2014 and has included an in-depth condition survey of the collection, the interventive treatment of selected items and an extensive book boxing and housing programme.
I completed the MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts in 2014, specialising in Books and Archival Materials. Prior to this I studied Law at the University of Nottingham.
I am a member of ICON and ARA.
‘We’re all in this together: Conservation of the ‘Cut Books’
As the dedicated project conservator for the Cambridge University Press Archive, my role has required me to work closely with the Press Archivist and colleagues within the Conservation and Collection Care Department at Cambridge University Library.
This crucial relationship has been highlighted by the conservation of the ‘Cut Books’. These bindings gathered the engravings, woodcuts and photographs for publication separately from the text.
The books were especially complex to conserve due to the substantial number of volumes, their poor condition, oversize format and the necessity for them to be handled by researchers.
The combined knowledge and experience from all involved influenced treatment decisions and workflow. The practical work was carried out by eight team members, and I will discuss the challenges and successes encountered in this large scale conservation project.
I have lived in Glasgow since 1991 when I started studied for a degree in Modern History at Glasgow University. I went on to work in journalism, communications and web editing but I am now pursuing a career in archives. My volunteer experience includes working with Glasgow Women’s Library, helping with the Speaking Out project, and the Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections where I worked on the First World War Home Front project. I am convenor of the Arlington Baths Club History Group and in September will return to Glasgow University as an Information Management and Preservation MSc student. www.linkedin.com/in/lucyjanes
Diving in: uncovering the stories of the Arlington Baths
The Arlington Baths Club in Glasgow is Europe's oldest member-owned swimming pool and Turkish Bath. It is not only a special and historic building but a community of people, stretching back to 1870.
In 2016 the Baths set up a group of volunteers to find out more about its past and its people. By learning more about our people and sharing the stories of former members we hope to help current members, potential members and the communities in the local area and rest of the city to value the Arlington Baths Club and support the Baths to enjoy a successful future.
In this presentation, Lucy Janes from the Arlington Baths Club History Group, will explain how the volunteers in the Group are investigating the stories of past members from the thousands of names of men, women and children in the Club membership books held in the Glasgow City Archives. So far they've found businessmen, artists, shipbuilders, lawyers, teachers and there's much more to discover.
She’ll explain how the Group is organised and share insights from the various on-going projects which are using the archive materials to:
The presentation will look at the value of heritage to Arlington Baths Club and the successes so far. Lucy will explain which tools the group are using to record and communicate their findings, and the partnerships and links that the Group has forged. She’ll also highlight some of the ideas for future projects and the issues and the challenges for a volunteer group trying to do research and participate in community heritage.
And throughout the presentation she will share some of the fascinating stories of the people we’ve found in the records; people who made Glasgow.
ANDREW JANES (presenting with John Sheridan)
I joined The National Archives in 2008 as a newly-qualified archivist, and I have worked there ever since. In July 2014, I took up my current role of Senior Archivist (Future Catalogues). My responsibilities include leading the State of the Catalogue programme which assesses and enhances the adequacy of descriptive metadata about The National Archives’ holdings. I also work on digital development projects and act as case owner for takedown requests relating to online catalogue entries.
I have an MScEcon in Archive Administration from Aberystwyth University. I am also a registered member of ARA and mentor candidates on the CPD scheme. With my colleague Rose Mitchell I am the co-author of Maps: Their Untold Stories (London: Bloomsbury, 2014).
Good gatekeeping: digital disruption and gradated access to archives
The web provides archives with amazing opportunities to maximise reach and widen access to their collections. Easy online access is widely considered a Holy Grail. Yet it is not always an unalloyed good, particularly where expectations of unrestricted access conflict with a need to introduce some constraints for sensitive content. As people looking after records, we must be 'good gatekeepers', balancing the needs of people using records to have easy access through the web with the interests of people who own the rights to, are named within, or may be harmed by the content of those record
This presentation offers a 'think piece' on the need for gradated access possibilities beyond a simple dichotomy between available 'open' records and unavailable 'closed' records. It sets this in the context of managing operational risk responsibly and sustainably within the emerging environment of the disruptive digital archive.
Discussion draws on the rare but important cases of takedown requests. Such requests to remove content from catalogues or other parts of archive services' websites are an established but under-explored example of how digital disruption has already impacted upon professional practice for both analogue and digital archiving.
Questions to be addressed include:
I am Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives, where I am responsible for supporting and co-ordinating innovative research and conservation. I am also responsible for The National Archives’ active support for archives of all kinds, to secure the best possible long-term future for their collections and services.
Prior to working at The National Archives, I worked on a funded project based at the University of Cambridge History Faculty, and hold an MA with Distinction in Archive Administration. I was awarded the Alexander R Myers Memorial Prize for Archive Administration, and won the Coleman Prize for my PhD thesis, 'British Multinationals, Culture and Empire in the Early Twentieth Century'.
I am a Registered Member of the Society of Archivists, a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Business Archives Council, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Panel Session 'What progress has been made in transforming the recordkeeping sector?'
Archives Unlocked is the government strategy for archives. Launched in March 2017, it presents a compelling vision of how archives inspire trust, deliver enrichment and operate with openness. The Action Plan that accompanies Archives Unlocked sets out an ambitious programme of transformation for archives. At the heart of this is the development of a skilled, confident and flexible workforce.
The panel discussion will centre around the workforce development strategy developed in Year 1 of the Action Plan, and probe the key challenges it identifies and the initiatives planned or established in response.
The panel will include contributions from speakers from the geographic and disciplinary breadth of the recordkeeping spectrum in order to provide a 360 degree view from the perspectives of the recordkeeping practitioner, employer and user. The speakers will frame a discussion with the audience to help shape delivery of the workforce strategy and inform future planning.
I am Head of Conservation at West Yorkshire Archive Service and am based at the West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield. I qualified as a paper conservator at the University of Northumbria, then as an archives conservator on the Society of Archivist’s Conservation Training Scheme. Professionally accredited (ACR) since 2008, I am also registered with the Institute for Conservation (ICON) as a mentor for other accreditation candidates.
I teach on the ARA Conservation Training Course, taking trainees on placements for both the introductory and paper elements of the syllabus.
I have also served on the ARA Council, contributing to the work of the Professional Development Committee and the CPD steering group.
Reach Out! Engaging People in Conservation
The West Yorkshire History Centre opened in 2016 in Wakefield, complete with a new conservation studio. This Heritage Lottery Funded project has also included a programme of outreach activities, events, workshops, talks, tours and even a mini conference. This talk will outline the conservation themed sessions trialled and discuss the successes and learning curves navigated along the way.