ARA Awards for Excellence

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Do you know any archivists, conservators or records managers who deserve recognition for their achievements?

The Archives and Records Association wants to recognise excellence and contributions by individuals and teams in our sector. Now is your chance to celebrate the best of what we do and help raise the profile of archivists, conservators and records managers across the UK and Ireland.

To celebrate the achievements of record keeping professionals and their contribution to society, ARA has three special awards. These complement longer-standing schemes, such as those given to community archives and volunteers, nominations for lifetime achievement to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History, the Ellis Prize for archive theory and practice and the ARA FARMER award for the best student dissertation each year.

These special awards are all about celebrating individual and service excellence and will also help raise awareness of what we do - and why we do it - to the wider public.

There are three Awards available:

  • Distinguished Service Award (DSA)

This award recognises individual conservators, archivists or records managers for career-long achievement and/or outstanding work, e.g. successful management/implementation of a project; external fundraising that has transformed a resource or service; significant improvements to service delivery, etc.

  • Record Keeper of the Year

This award acknowledges achievement by an individual archivist, conservator or records manager within the last eighteen months at any career stage.

  • Record Keeping Service of the Year

This award recognises achievements by an archive, conservation or records management service or operation within the last eighteen months. A service must employ staff with appropriate qualifications in order to be eligible, but can be nominated in any one of the three professional sectors.

Nomination and judging

Distinguished Service Award - a simple nomination form.  Nominations can also be made by  members of the ARA Board. Up to two nominations each year can be proposed for approval by the ARA Board.

Record Keeper of the Year/Record Keeping Service of the Yeara form with prompts, seeking reasons for nomination. Anyone or any group can complete these forms, not just ARA members.

Nominations for Record Keeper of the Year and Record Keeping Service of the Year will be short-listed by the ARA Board and names of the short-listed candidates will be posted on the ARA website. Voting will be open to the public, promoted by publicity.  Up to five digital images may be submitted as supporting evidence for nominations and applications.

The successful candidates in all three categories will be announced at the ARA AGM, which will be held on Wednesday 17 May 2017.

Why encourage external voting?

The awards are aimed at celebrating success and to encourage participation by wider, external audiences. Any publicity generated will raise awareness and advocacy for the three professional sectors. While initial publicity may be local rather than national, lobbying for nominated candidates will drum up interest in the award schemes.

Awards Schedule

  • December 2016 Call for nominations
  • End February 2017 – nominations close
  • Early March 2017 – ARA Board reviews nominations and shortlist is drawn up.
  • March- end April 2017 – voting takes place via Survey Monkey link on ARA website
  • End April 2017 Voting closes
  • Wednesday 17 May 2017 Winners announced at ARA AGM, with nominated Record Keepers and two representatives to attend from nominated Record Keeping Services
  • Late summer/early autumn 2017 (to be arranged) Ceremonies at winning Record Keeping Service, with celebratory participation by all staff and with Record Keeper of the Year.

What will be the prize?

Rather than a monetary prize, the awards deliver acknowledgement of achievement by peers, customers, allies and friends in an area where success and innovation is seldom recognised. The awards are high quality trophies and will remain permanently with the recipients. Remember: great achievers inspire and encourage the whole profession. Let’s celebrate them. Your nominations will help to develop advocacy for the sector and make a difference to archivists, conservators and records managers nationwide. 

For examples of previous winners, please click here:

Nomination forms are below:

If you have any further questions please contact the Awards Secretary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .