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University of Edinburgh (Seal Image from David Laing Collection, Photograph by Paul Fleming)

About Paul

Before returning to education I was employed in a variety of occupations, including screen printing and promotions. I developed a passion for learning which led me to studying at the University of Edinburgh. I undertook a course run in conjunction with the Lothian Health Services Archive. It was during this time that I was inspired by archives, the role of the archivist and the possibility of a career within this sector. I could not believe it when I heard about the Skills for the Future project as it presented an amazing opportunity for me to gain valuable, hands-on, experience within the field.

My traineeship at the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh, involves a mixture of traditional archive skills, outreach and community engagement. With the exciting prospect of helping others to engage with the collections, whilst also promoting the important role they play in preserving our heritage.

So far I have been involved in a number of exciting projects and events such as the #exploreyourarchives social media campaign and cataloguing the University’s David Laing collection, which has helped me to develop confidence in traditional archive skills. It has also given me the opportunity to come into contact with some wonderful material and to appreciate just how varied archives can be. Currently I am working with a volunteer on a project for the Festival of Museums and looking forward to gaining some experience in the Lothian Health Services Archive where my passion first began. My ultimate goal is to use the skills which I will develop over the course of this year to provide a foundation to build a future career within the archive sector.

About University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) at Edinburgh University Library is unique in the world of cultural and heritage assets. It offers specialist collection management, curation, and outreach activities, alongside front-facing public services to access collections. We operate in a converged environment in which librarians, archivists, museum curators, conservators and digitisation staff work closely together on a day-to-day basis.

There are unrivalled resources in virtually every field of human endeavour dating from the first century onwards with particular strengths in western Medieval material, musicology, Islamic and Oriental manuscripts, the Enlightenment, Scottish and English Literature, the African continent, Architecture, the history of science and medicine to name a few. There are over 60 kilometres of internationally-important collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives and art. Services include expert advice from specialist curators, and assistance with developing new or existing courses and research projects based on the CRC holdings.

The collections offer major opportunities for learning, teaching, research and engagement.  Our role within the University includes providing expert advice from our specialist curators to assisting in developing new or existing courses and research projects, all inspired by our rich and unique collections.

The public consultation area in the CRC is a spacious purpose designed search room and facilitates easy access to collection resources of all types for researchers.