The University of St Mark and St John have won the prestigious 2014 Archive Volunteering Award.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Cara Aitchison and archivist Gil Fewings accepted the Archives & Records Association award on behalf of all who had worked on the Connected Catalogue project.
Seven of the project’s 18 volunteers have found employment, started a business or gained a place on a further education course.
A particularly successful part of the project was the Youth Archive project run by the University’s Youth and Community team, which has led to a series of linked events starting with a ‘Pop Up Parliament’.
The judges were unanimous in giving the award to the University, praising the innovative involvement of students with the project.
University archivist Gil Fewings led the project, working closely with Gill Stringer of Volunteer Guild Plymouth and Faye Hatherley-Edwin who organised student volunteering on campus.
Gil said ‘‘Connections are what bring archives and people alive. Through this project we’ve connected people with knowledge, heritage, creativity, employability and each other – with benefits to all involved. We’ve all worked together, been out of our comfort zones and learned a lot in the process. It’s been invaluable in exploring what makes people want to – or not want to – come to an archive.”
This is the fifth year of the national award. Previous winners are: Hull History Centre in 2013; Wolverhampton City Archives in 2012; Manchester Chinese Archive in 2011; and Suffolk Record Office in 2010.
David Mander, chair of the ARA, said: “All five winners of the Volunteering Award from 2010 to 2015 have shown what can happen when volunteers work with archives professionals: the archive gains, but so do the volunteers. It is humbling to see what everyone involved at St Mark and St John, Plymouth have achieved this year and what other teams have achieved before them.”
Link to Archives & Records Association website http://www.archives.org.uk/
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