Looking to the Future…

I’m now into the fifth week of my MA in Archives & Records Management at UCL, and it’s  going really well so far, there is so much to learn about and get stuck in to.

One of the highlights so far has to be attending my first Archives & Records Association (ARA) speaker meeting in London. It was a really nice introduction to the ARA and to hear some insights about professional archivists’ experiences. You can read my blog post reporting on the meeting here.

I cannot think of any low-lights, although setting my alarm clock for very early starts in order to get the train into London is not particularly fun. I am definitely not a morning person, but I am getting to know my local 8am Starbucks baristas quite well!


It is a really exciting time to be working in the archive sector and I’ve been thinking about my future in the profession. I know that I would rather work in Archives than records management once I graduate from UCL, but what kind of archive do I want to work in? I don’t want to limit myself by making that kind of decision right now, but there are some subject matters that I would quite like to work with, given the opportunity…

I have quite a substantial musical background. From a young age I attended music school on a Saturday, and throughout my teenage years I played in many different groups in the Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT). I trained primarily in the Oboe. I also play piano, flute and saxophone, and have also sung in choirs, bands, and played the cello, cor anglais and bassoon.

My musical background is mostly classical, although I have quite an eclectic music taste. I’ve taken part in many orchestral performances and have also been involved in lots of musical theatre productions as a performer. At the ARA speaker meeting in October Laura Brown talked to us about her work at the Royal Opera House, which involves working with costumes, props and musical instruments. To me that sounds like an absolute dream job! I would really love to work in a music archive, or an archive like that of the Royal Opera House that has collections relating to music and the theatre.

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I have never been a particularly big fan of art – I cannot draw or produce anything that anyone would think of as ‘art’ – but I am fascinated by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. In Northampton we have 78 Derngate, a grade II listed townhouse which was famously remodelled by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1916. I’ve visited 78 Derngate many times, so the house and my mother – as an Art Deco fan – have been influential. I find Art Deco and it’s influence on architecture and design really fascinating. Whilst I have not yet had the pleasure of working with any Art Deco items in an archive, this is another area that I would really love to work in.

At university, we’ve recently been reading about and discussing outreach as part of an archives’ service and an archivists role. My personal opinion is that outreach should be an integral part of the archival world, and there are a huge variety of different ways in which it can be done. At some point I would like to get involved in archival projects within schools: bringing archives into the education system and building classroom sessions around archival material to raise awareness of what archives are, what they do, and how archival material can be used.

Looking back over what I’ve written so far, I guess you could say that I would like to work creatively, or to work with creative materials. I am quite a creative person, and it would be lovely follow this though into my professional capacity. These are just some of my musings about the future, and there are lots of subject matters and elements of the archival world that I would like to be involved in (it would be an extremely long blog post if I discussed them all)! It is good to think about the future, but I have a completely open mind. As I said earlier, I don’t want to put any limits on myself this early, but it’s good to have goals, right?

What about you, what’s your dream job?


Contact: sophiearchives@gmail.com

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