2020 has been a year like no other. We are living through a unique moment in history and the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis have impacted all of society. Archives have a key role to play in capturing and preserving records of our collective experience and this year’s case studies are just a few examples of projects delivered across the sector before and during the pandemic. They illustrate a range and breadth of initiatives and clearly demonstrate how archives are crucial to understanding all histories and reflecting the society in which we all live.

These case studies also illustrate how important and relevant archives are in times of change.

Significantly, many of these projects were delivered in the face of unprecedented challenges. I have been, and continue to be, hugely impressed by the incredible efforts of archive services across the country to record and collect, and to support and engage with their communities and audiences throughout this time.

Jeff James
Chief Executive and Historical Manuscripts Commissioner


It is now more than three years since we launched Archives Unlocked, our strategic vision for the archives sector. This year we have taken the opportunity to review and refresh our priorities, and to incorporate some new themes alongside our existing ambitions of Trust, Enrichment and Openness. As a result, A Year in Archives looks a little different this year, too, with an expanded number of cases studies chosen to illustrate these themes. This is also our first electronic-only edition, and we hope this new format will enable the publication, and the great work of the archive services that feature in it, to reach an even wider audience.

We hope you enjoy this latest edition, exploring how services and networks continue to engage, inspire and collaborate.

Emma Markiewicz
Head of Archives Sector Development