My traineeship with the University of Dundee Archive Services began in October 2014. The focus is to develop skills in Outreach, Community Engagement and Digitisation, gaining an understanding of current theory and best practice. The skills I have acquired under the guidance of highly skilled archive staff will prove invaluable when pursuing future employment. I have also completed an online distance learning module in Outreach and Education facilitated by the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee.
During the course of my traineeship I have welcomed every opportunity to apply my learning. Writing short articles for publication, such as ‘Discovering Business and Industry in Dundee’ (ARC magazine) and ‘Skills, Study & Science’ (Retour magazine), has allowed me to explore and become familiar with the breadth of collections held in the Archive as well as develop my writing skills. I have relished physically handling collections whilst developing core archival skills such as accessioning, appraisal and cataloguing.
I recently mounted an exhibition, comprising eight panels and a display case, highlighting the importance of the sciences from the formation of the University in 1881 to the present day. This involved researching the topics, selecting and manipulating the images and writing text and captions. I have used social media platforms to promote the collections and assisted with the design and delivery of workshops for visiting school children and students at the University. The Skills for the Future programme will provide me with a solid foundation on which to carve a future career in the archive and heritage sector.
About University of Dundee Archive Services
The University of Dundee Archive Services forms part of the department of Culture & Information. The main aims of the department are to secure the long-term preservation of the University collections and selected institutional and personal records, to promote the use of the collections and to support the core institutional aims of research, teaching and learning. We also support the current business of the University through the provision of information from the collections and preserve the University’s corporate memory. The collections are used in marketing, to promote the University and to engage with the local and wider community.
We hold material relating to the University and to individuals, industry and organisations in the Tayside area and beyond. Our collections are of interest to a wide range of users and cover many subjects, aiding research into education, religion, social, cultural, environmental and business history, medicine and health, and local and family history. We are particularly proud to hold one of the largest collections of textile records in Europe relating to the jute and linen industries in Dundee and India. As the repository for National Health Services Tayside, the archives hold a wealth of records relating to local hospitals and asylums. The Michael Peto photographic collection is one of international significance and includes images of famous figures from post-war Britain involved with politics, music (including The Beatles), ballet and the arts.
As a host organisation, facilitating the workplace learning of our trainee has helped to reinvigorate our approach to outreach activities.