ARA meets Arts Council to discuss Renaissance funding & ensure level playing field for archives

John Chambers, Chief Executive of the ARA and Katy Goodrum, Chair, recentlymet with the Arts Council to discuss its Renaissance Fund and the valueof supporting the record keeping sector.

The ARA presented some compelling arguments around the importance of archives to both our heritage and to related areas in the sector, including Museums which are also facing some tough challenges. In a supporting paper that will go to the Arts Council Trustees for review in July, the ARA also demonstrated how archives fit closely with their strategic goals.

During the discussions the Arts Council also stated that archives can apply to their Grants for the Arts funding for further financial support. More details can be found at: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts/

Key arguments highlighted include:

The UK’s archival collections record the lives and endeavours of people from the 7th century to the present day. Some items resonate through international history and culture: Domesday Book, Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Scott of the Antarctic’s diary. Others resonate more locally, having great significance for a community or individual. The archival record is the direct, authentic voice of the past; the primary evidence of what people did and what they thought.

Archive practitioners work to release these collections, by cataloguing, interpretation, digitisation, outreach work, community engagement, commercial partnerships and collaboration.

John and the team went on to highlight the danger of suggesting that museums and archives are separate operations:

In practice this is not true; museums and galleries hold archives; the records of the institution itself, papers of artists, staff and collections which support the research remit of the institution. These enhance the 3D collections and form an integral and valuable part of the holdings.