Introducing the ARA New Professional Award

This summer the Section for New Professionals committee ran a pilot for a New Professional of the Year Award. The Archives and Records Association already manage a suite of Excellence Awards, but none are specifically targeted to those starting out in the profession. As a committee, we hoped that such an award would recognize the valuable contribution the members of our section make to the sector.

We were dependent on nominations coming from established professionals who had worked alongside or knew their nominees. We were delighted to receive six nominations in total so thank you to everyone who took the time to write and submit a nomination. We could not have done it without you.

Section for New Professionals

The quality of the nominations was extremely high, and the votes from the judging panel (comprising members of both the SfNP committee and the ARA Board) were very close. As a result, we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all of the nominees. However, there is only one award to give, and so we are happy to announce the results of the judging.

Winner of the New Professionals Award 2017 – James Elder, Archives Manager, BT

Award pic edited

James Elder receiving his award.

James’ work managing digital records at BT was praised for contributing to the developing field of digital preservation and acknowledged he undertook a significant undertaking for someone so early into their career and displayed initiative and leadership. Not only has his implementation of a digital repository made an impact in the workplace, it has also benefited the wider sector thanks to his presentation at the ARA Conference 2016 and by hosting visits and meetings with other professionals. We would like to commend James for achieving so much at this stage in his career.

2nd Place – Lauren Clifton, Searchroom Archivist, West Sussex Record Office

Lauren Clifton

Lauren Clifton

When Lauren began working at West Sussex Record Office they had no presence on social media. She has since created an impressive presence for the service online which has brought favorable attention from a range of stakeholders. Where appropriate, Lauren has tied outreach work online to wider sector initiatives such as Explore Archives week and also shared her experiences with other record-keeping professionals by submitting content to ARC magazine. Lauren went above and beyond her job role and showed real enthusiasm and commitment to the expansion of the service.

3rd Place – Rachel Brown, Archivist, Dudley Archives and Local Studies Centre

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

Rachel’s work to address the cataloguing backlog in her workplace has had a substantial impact on the availability of their collections to the public. In addition, her work to recruit and diversify the service’s volunteers was praised. In addition to the above, Rachel has addressed social media output, and begun to address digital preservation needs. It was felt that this wide range of activities undertaken in so short a time demonstrated a fantastic commitment to the workplace, and the sector.



Runners up (in alphabetical order)

Luke Dady, Archives Services Officer, Dorset History Centre

While working on the HLF-funded Bankes Family of Kingston Lacey at Dorset History Centre project, Luke was required to communicate effectively across a range of different sectors and communities. His technical knowledge contributed to the development of a new website making use of GIS mapping. Luke’s contributions to the project and the History Centre went beyond the expectations.

Karen Davies, Archivist and Librarian, Black Country Living Museum

As a lone archivist Karen has been solely responsible for the full range of collections activities in her workplace. A particular achievement has been the completion of a project to recatalogue Archibald Kenrick & Sons archive. It was felt that Karen had shown great initiative by undertaking such a range of work without supervision at this stage in her career.

Rachael Jones, Assistant Archivist, Glasgow School of Art

While working as a Heritage Engagement Officer at the University of Glasgow, Rachael not only supported the day-to-day activities of the archives, but demonstrated versatility and imagination in engaging and communicating with individuals across a range of different sectors. She impressed stakeholders with her ability to respond effectively to specialist subject matter and was described by one as ‘A great ambassador for the University and for Archives’.

Section for New Professionals Committee


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