Explore Your Archive

Read on for an update on the Explore Your Archive campaign, kindly provided for the Section for New Professionals by Marie Owens.

Marie at ARA Conference
Marie at ARA Conference (Photo Tim Fok)

I’m writing this just hours before the Explore Your Archive campaign officially begins. 16 November has been a red letter day for so long for those of us working on the campaign – it’s hard to think it’s really here!

In case you’ve been on a different planet: Explore Your Archive is the biggest public awareness drive the sector has ever undertaken under one shared look and set of messages.

A quite dazzling array of events and activities are happening ‘in an archive near’, well everyone! The number of UK and Irish archives taking active part is accelerating towards 200. Some of my random favourites are: Wrexham Archives sharing their pantomime archive (oh no they’re not!); Barking and Dagenham showcasing workers’ rights (Made in Dagenham); Derbyshire Record Office exploiting their Pride and Prejudice (200 years) local links; Lancashire talking food (how can that go wrong?)

The first formal launch, in Gwent, attended by Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths, has just finished. ‘Super’ was the verdict of ARA Chief Executive John Chambers (who doesn’t do ‘super’ without good cause!)

We have a launch in Dublin on 20 November and one at the Houses of Parliament in London on 21 November. Every single leadership body of the UK and Ireland is supporting this campaign.

And what about that ARCHI’VE look? Modern, colourful, clever. It speaks to people. Either archivists really are the most courteous people in the world, or everyone really does love it.

ARA Conference
ARA Conference (Photo Tim Fok)

Explore Your Archive is a success. It’s just a matter of how big a success.

The public WILL notice all this activity. More people will understand what we do that little bit better. They may walk into an archive for the first time (and never want to leave!) They may reflect that those who work in the archives of the UK and Ireland do a rather amazing job. The sector will make more friends. And archivists can stand that little bit taller and prouder.

Well done everyone. We did good!

Enjoy the Campaign.

Marie Owens, Head of Public Affairs
Archives and Records Association UK and Ireland

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