Archives Unlocked vision launched at the Southbank Centre

Jeff James - Archives Unlocked

Jeff James – Archives Unlocked

The National Archives has today launched a vision and action plan to help archives work to secure their future through digital transformation, investing in new workforce skills, and encouraging innovation.

Details of the Archives Unlocked vision were revealed at a special launch event held at Southbank Centre Archive Studio, in the Royal Festival Hall alongside the River Thames on Wednesday morning.

Archives Unlocked is the result of a process of co-creation with the archives sector and a range of funders and partners from the wider culture, heritage and information worlds. It offers a future where businesses, creative industries, arts organisations, academia, and communities can fully exploit a more resilient archives sector, with the UK leading the world in digital transformation.

Themes of Trust, Enrichment and Openness highlight the importance of archives in holding authority to account through scrutiny, in driving innovation and creativity for businesses and across society, and in cultivating an open approach to knowledge accessible to all.

Matt Hancock MP - Archives Unlocked

Matt Hancock MP – Archives Unlocked

Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, launched the new vision in front of an invited audience of archivists and representatives from associated sectors.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said:

‘We sit at the heart of a rich, national collection of archives buoyed by skilled and innovative professionals. We are proud to lead this dynamic sector. Archives are the nation’s collective memory.

‘However, more needs to be done so that we can sustain the sector for the long term. The Archives Unlocked action plan embodies this. It sets out what is required to release the power of the archives.

‘Working with partners, stakeholders, investors and individuals, we will have greater potential and influence to accomplish what we need to do. The UK will be home to world-leading archives: both digital and physical.’

Earlier this month the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £28,700 in development funding to The National Archives to help create a training plan in digital archival skills, along with a recruitment strategy designed to attract a broad range of candidates.

This was the first phase of a £749,300 total bid that will culminate in 24 digital traineeships, based in archives around England from 2018, and forming the cornerstone in delivering the wider aims of the Archives Unlocked vision. Additional support will come from The National Archives’ Innovation Fund and other partners, bringing the total investment to £1 million.

Read more about Archives Unlocked.

Tags: archive vision, archives sector, plans, strategy