As the newly appointed Archivist of the ‘Coming in from the Cold’ project, I am excited to be working with BAME communities to help them to understand and develop archive collections as part of their HLF projects. My first few weeks have been quite a whirl wind and have included becoming acquainted with the Centre’s existing archive collections, managing a volunteer, attending meetings and spreading the word about CIFTC, getting to know the team better, and preparing for the start of our Archive Trainee (who you will hear from in an upcoming blog).
My role involves working with community groups to help them develop an understanding of, and confidence in working with archives. Creating good archives, as an integral part of a project, will encourage their acceptance into archive institutions. This means the community and project can have a lasting visibility and that records of these communities will be available for historians of the future. As part of this role I will be creating an archiving toolkit for community projects to use and supporting groups to implement it. I will also be processing new archive collections which I hope will include input from community members who can provide context and depth to catalogues. I hope that through this greater inclusion in the archiving process the participants will go on to become advocates for archives within their communities.
I have been qualified as an archivist for fifteen years and my career in the sector has been quite varied. I began at Liverpool Archives working on a HLF project to catalogue and promote the Jewish Community Archive held there. I then moved to Manchester Archives for a few years where I worked on various collections including several hundred school collections. I then worked for the People’s History Museum at the beginning of their capital project which was developing a new archive centre at their site at Left Bank, Spinningfields. My last role was as Archivist at Oldham Local Studies and Archives. In my last few years there I began to develop new ways of working with donators and their archives to capture context and create better catalogues. I had the opportunity to work with both the Asian and West Indian communities on HLF projects in Oldham.
I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge and passion for archives into my role to assist BAME communities create and archive their own history. I look forward to keeping you updated with my activities supporting community archiving as part of the project team.