Archives and records enrich our lives, connect us to the past and give us a sense of identity. People enjoy the stories they reveal, and archives matter because they tell the story of all of us. Yet how some of our stories are recorded, if they are even recorded, can discourage communities from engaging and exploring heritage. SCA are committed to ensuring that archives are open to all, and support archive services in their work to remove barriers to participation, reach new audiences and to engage users.
SCA are delighted to launch our latest series of webinars, focussing on inclusive practice in the archives. The series will primarily focus on collection development and cataloguing, with participants gaining insight into presenting materials with respect, sensitivity, and innovatively, to not only enrich understanding of collections, but to also engage with users form across our communities. The webinars will be a mix of practical guidance and case studies, and we are delighted to be joined by speakers working across the archive collections and the wider heritage sector.
Webinar One: A Voice for Everyone in the History of Health
Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA) is NHS Lothian’s archive inside the University of Edinburgh, and the largest medical archive in the UK. In this short talk, Project Archivist Louise Neilson and Archivist Louise Williams will introduce LHSA collections that challenge the established, ‘top-down’ way in which health history is often reflected in archives (particularly institutional ones). Focusing on records from Lothian’s history of fighting the HIV epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and a Wellcome-funded project to catalogue the archive of the first gay switchboard in the UK (Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard), this short introduction will highlight how LHSA’s approach to describing collections and representing the communities who generated them is evolving.
Webinar Two: Archives, Language, and Mental Health: Respecting the Past and Approaching the Present
Jacqueline Eccles (Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, University of Dundee, and Senior Mental Health Nurse NHS Fife) explores using asylum records to give voice to the under-represented.
Jacqueline offers a unique perspective on the language of mental health and archives, recognising the value of engaging with heritage and archives in her work in frontline health provision. This is an engaging and insightful session, offering a fresh look at the language of asylum and other health records.
Webinar Three: Inclusive Description
There is power in description and language must be understood as a tool through which heritage professionals can create and curate socially conscious catalogues, collections, displays, and learning resources. Carissa Chew will share the rationale behind the Cultural Heritage Terminology Network (CHTNUK) and her Inclusive Terminology Glossary, two projects that she created as the former the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Intern at the National Library of Scotland (2020-2021). Whilst the Cultural Heritage Terminology Network is a space that promotes practice sharing and cross-institutional collaboration on inclusive description issues, the Inclusive Terminology Glossary is a collaborative project that provides specific language guidance on the historic and contemporary usage of terms relating to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and disability.
Webinar Four: Recording LGBTQ+ Voices
Generously supported by the Queer Heritage and Collection Network, this webinar provides archivists and anyone working in the wider heritage sector, with the skills and confidence to develop their own outreach projects, to record and celebrate the queer community. OurStory Scotland is a community history and oral history project founded in 2002 to record the histories of Scotland’s LGBTQ+ communities. We will be joined by its founder Jaime Valentine and current chair, Dom Miller-Graham, to explore how archivists can work with communities, with this session focussing on recording, collecting, and sharing peoples’ stories. Sharing stories fosters community conversation and ensures that histories and collections reflect all of us. This project has been made possible in part thanks to the Queer Heritage and Collections Network, supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund.