Posted by: Marie Owens
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Final conference blog: On Friday, the final day of the conference, the sun came out. In several ways.
First, the sun really did come out and Brighton was transformed: the beach was packed, the sea tranquil and the conference delegates were taking well-earned quick breaks outside and coming back with broad smiles. A few who had looked slightly the worse for wear after duty on the latin dance floor the night before, really came to after coffee and that injection of sunshine.
There was optimism in the air everywhere. Sue Donnelly, Ed Fay and Elinor Robinson from LSE gave a stirring three-hander on their practical experience of how to take in digital material – from those vital conversations with depositors to the physical ‘what we do with memory sticks when they arrive’ (sometimes in the post!) Conference loved the actual pictures of what gadget is plugged into what – the scary made quite normal and do-able.
The afternoon ‘roundup’ was memorable. Five professionals opined on ‘the way forward for the sector’. Four men and a woman – not very balanced in that way (though it was meant to be Annie Mauger from CILIP not the outstanding Simon Edwards...) Oliver Morley always tends to steal the show and this time he spoke simply about – confidence. He’d been in Brisbane, he’d spent the day at this conference. He was completely convinced the sector could deal with all things thrown at it.
Geoff Pick always manages to be funny and memorable. The 100 years since the South Pole conquest gave him his theme. To move ahead we’d need some of the Amundsen winner mentality, some of Scott’s dedication and multi-tasking, some of Shackleton’s pure heroic leadership.
Fabi Barticioti and her New Professionals section make one terribly optimistic about the future of the profession. Funny, bright, dedicated and worth listening to. ‘Are we professional information jugglers?’ she asked. Anyone new to the professional who isn’t in Fabi’s gang is really missing a trick.
David Wallace gave the opening address on Wednesday about Wikileaks. On Friday he had the unenviable task of trying to ‘sum up/give concluding remarks’. It was quite a tour de force. David reminded us what we had heard and what it might mean. He joined some wonderful dots for us all.
So, okay, I’m biased. Of course I think that ARA members and ARA conferences are hard to beat. We’d had three days of important papers, lots of questions, full engagement. And there was a real sense of belief and grit as everyone headed out into the sun.
Blog written at 11.30 pm, 30 August: Thursday afternoon for me was about the Journal – soon to be Archives & Records – and all aspects of its mission and operation. Under new publisher Taylor and Francis there are plans for quick online publication. It is a grade 1 peer-reviewed journal and really enhances the ARA’s reputation. I also caught most of Caroline Peach’s presentation about the BL’s Preservation Advisory Centre. Caroline was doing an excellent ‘trends of the last 12 months’ roundup. We’ve been working together on a new advocacy day for collection care - looking forward to that. Everyone is now pretty much talking to everyone and is very relaxed and comfortable. It all makes for a delightful feeling of camaraderie. A very nice gala dinner – well done the Grand Hotel - and then Latin dancing. Who would have put money on the dance floor being full of archivists and record managers swaying to the rhythm. Great joy. (People are still talking about the Wikileaks 'good leaks/bad leaks' issue and the strong impression left by Tony Ageh. But general feeling is that the standard of all papers/presentations is very high, higher than Edinburgh probably. Didn't think we'd be saying that.)
Blog written at 2.30pm 30 August: