Archives & Records Association Launches

A sector which keeps safe and accessible thousands of years of historytoday launched a brand new organisation to represent its professionals,providers and users.

The Archives & Records Association UK & Ireland (ARA) will deliver improved advocacy for the sector, including the profession, user groups and providers. ARA will also work to improve and maintain services and standards across the sector.  

ARA was created on 1 June, marking the merger of the Society of Archivists, the National Council on Archives and the Association of Chief Archivists in Local Government. As a result of this merger, the ARA wider membership and governing Council includes archivists, records managers, conservators and the users of archives and records such as family and local historians, teachers, planners, researchers, campaigners and community archive groups. ARA will be able to draw on the long experience of its founding bodies in formulating policies and advocating for the sector.

Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA) and the guest speaker at today’s launch event at Nottingham’s Galleries of Justice, said:
“Archives are the raw data of human endeavour. The Archives & Records Association will ensure that archives are more able to take their place in the decision-making process in the business world, in government and across society. They have an essential role in improving accountability and encouraging public involvement in the democratic process”.

Sir Andrew Motion, a high profile advocate for the power of archives, told BBC’s Newsnight on the eve of his departure as Poet Laureate that his proudest achievement in that role was the creation of the online Poetry Archive.

Outlining the strength of the new Association in being able to represent the archives and records sector to government and wider society, Katy Goodrum Head of West Yorkshire Archives and the Chair of ARA said:
“Archivists and record-keepers have a thousand years of experience, creativity and inspirational ideas at their fingertips. These archives and records are of major importance to decision-makers in the politics and business. As Winston Churchill said, ‘those who those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. When Professor Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives last summer, he reminded Parliamentarians and senior business figures that the Bank’s archives stretch back four hundred years and that the records stored by them are valued greatly by historians and policy-makers.

“The network of local archive services across the UK and Ireland also capture the authentic voice of people at the heart of events in their own communities. Letters, diaries and local business records are captured by County Record Offices, universities, community archive groups and others to allow people to see first-hand accounts what it was like to live and work in their own localities in the past”.

The ARA will be working with key partners and funders the MLA and The National Archives, as well as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives, to bring to the attention of ministers, parliamentarians and other decision-makers in local government and business, the importance of the archive sector in delivering many important policy agendas. Across the country, archive services are helping to deliver services for their localities in adult and continuing education, culture and heritage, working with older people and contributing to community and economic regeneration.

ARA will be working on the implementation of the Government Policy “Archives for the 21st Century” including developing local and regional advocacy strategies for archives, raising awareness of the work of volunteers in the sector and progressing with the National Business Archives Strategy, launched last year in the House of Lords by Mervyn King, Sir Stuart Rose and Dame Stella Rimington.

This week, ARA in partnership with UNESCO UK National Commission, launched the UK Memory of the World National Register in Parliament, listing 10 of the UK’s most important archival holdings, from King William’s Charter to the City of London, the World War II WRVS’ Air Raid Precautions Records and the archives of the Company of Scotland (now RBS), recording early trading to Africa and the Indies in the late 17th Century.

The Archives & Records Association also launches a new cocktail today – “mixed meadia” – it contains mead and cider with the monastic liquers Benedictine and Chartreuse, reflecting the monastic ideal of transferring knowledge from generation to generation and the traditional drinks of mead and cider to create something akin to the archival heritage ARA seeks to conserve and promote:  authentic, international and unique.


For more information contact: John Chambers

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mob: 07918 758015 

Notes to editors

The Archives & Records Association can be found online at

A guide to archives in local government “Our Past, Your Future”, published by the Local Government Association in partnership with ARA founding bodies and The National Archives can be found here

“Corporate Memory: a guide to managing business archives” can be found here