Becoming the Inclusive Archive

An inclusive archive is available for every person we serve, enriched by the diverse and talented individuals who work with and for archives of all kinds.

As the living, growing and trusted home of our nation’s stories, our obligation is to be an archive for everyone, because archives are about everyone – past, present and future.

With a national and global leadership role, our decisions to make the necessary changes will have an impact and influence beyond just us.

Becoming the Inclusive Archive is at the heart of everything The National Archives wants to do over the next decade.

We are dedicated to this commitment, knowing that it requires rigorous, honest self-examination and increased openness to challenge from within and outside of our organisation. This includes being self-aware and transparent about where we take the lead, and where we can lead by example.

We know that we cannot become the Inclusive Archive alone.

We will work more closely with partners and friends than ever before, within and outside archives, other cultural heritage organisations and bodies, and representative groups and communities.

We will need to listen, understand – and learn – as we strive to make real the Inclusive Archive.

Our areas of focus

Workforce – who we are

We know that the Inclusive Archive is not just what we do, but who we are. We have set ourselves the challenge of becoming more representative of the people we serve and taking proactive steps to get there: across qualification, recruitment, retention and workplace culture. By doing so, we will also set a stronger example and influence change across the archives sector.

Audience – who we serve

We believe that everyone has a right to access what we hold at The National Archives and to experience us through what we do. Looking at things from others viewpoints allows us to see what prevents individuals engaging with us, or having access – and to do something about it. Thinking in this way helps expand our reach and profile through our audience-focussed activities, our research programmes and practice, working with others to better serve our audiences in ways we cannot do alone.

Practice – how we work

What is selected and why, how we describe our collections and making them discoverable and available is critical to becoming genuinely inclusive. Grounded in our mission and statutory obligations, this thinking also sits in the context of wider professional debates around the role of the archive and the archivist. As the leader of the archives sector in England, a government archive, a research archive, and as a national archive with a global reputation, it is right that we play an appropriate and meaningful part in these debates.

Position – our global role

Our collection is of international significance, not least because it concerns Britain’s global history. ‘Position’ looks at where we fit in on the world stage as a cultural heritage institution, how we enable people to access their archival heritage wherever they are, and how we support archives in preserving documentary heritage of all kinds.