Views from current ARA volunteers

The ARA asked some current volunteers with the ARA to comment on theirexperiences.  Their contributions are given below.


Rachel Hosker.  Chair of ARA Scotland.

"Being Chair for ARA Scotland has been a rewarding experience that has allowed me to gather new skills and learn more about our profession and the sector.  Having now been part of the Executive in Scotland I can see how much the role can keep you up to date with issues in the sector, new initiatives and in meeting colleagues and learning about what they do.  This can be very useful - so you can ask the right people for help and advice as a professional.

The last thing being a Chair is - is being at the front chairing the usual meetings!  That is a small part of it.  I've found it can be much more about the conversations you have around meetings, trainings and events that can start off new working relationships and projects.  Communicating is vital to making the role work.  As the 2011 conference focus on advocacy showed, this is part of the role too.  Being able to stand up and say what the profession needs, listens to and wants to ask about.  What a great thing to be able to be part of!"


David Baldwin.  Archivist London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and Website Officer for ARA’s Film Sound and Photography Section (FSPS).

"In my role at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) I am exposed to a wide range of audio-visual (AV) material, on a daily basis. To maintain a good knowledge of how to work with such collections, I decided to join the Film, Sound and Photography Section (FSPS) and become more involved in promoting best practice, core training and useful resources for archival professionals across the sector.

In September 2010, I was elected web officer for FSPS and began to work with the committee by publishing information on the Archives and Records Association (ARA) website. Through this role, I have been fortunate to meet and talk with a wide range of individuals experienced in their field - whether it be film, sound or photography. Having this opportunity has supported my professional development and allowed me to build a good network of contacts across the UK, including individuals based in specialist, academic and local authority repositories. My involvement in FSPS has also provided the learning experience I need to complete the Registration Scheme.

Getting involved in one of ARA’s sections and contributing to a wider dialogue on archives has allowed me to bridge a professional gap between myself and the sector. By discussing issues and ideas about collections across the UK and beyond, I have built a strong framework both for my working knowledge and career development moving forward.” 


Lee Pretlove.  Records Management & Archive Officer. Training Officer – Eastern Region.

"I took on the role of Eastern Region Training Officer over two years ago. I was (and still am) working as a lone Records Management & Information Compliance Officer at a multi-national engineering company. A vacancy came up in the Eastern Region Committee and I expressed an interest in the post. As I was working on my own, I thought the role would be a good way in staying in touch with professional colleagues, regional and national recordkeeping development as well as an activity to start building my Registration portfolio. Of course, I cannot forget the clichéd opportunity for networking with fellow professionals!

I was already aware of the work of the regional committee and its events and I initially hoped that I could help shape future training events by listening to the needs of the regional membership and providing training accordingly. I initially hoped that I could broaden regional training topics by including topics such as records management and information compliance subjects. I have derived much personal developmental value from the role so far, some of which have surpassed my expectations.

All regional Training Officers are expected to attend the Training Group meetings on a twice yearly basis. These meeting are excellent for sharing training ideas and understanding the training needs of our members as a whole. Based on other regions, I devised a training survey for the Eastern Region which was a useful training planning tool for the Eastern Committee and for the Training Group. The Training Group has recently issued a wider Training Needs Survey to the whole membership and I was pleased to have formatted the survey based on the Training Group’s agreed questions. This survey is a part of the PDC’s wider plans of implementing a shift towards more centralised ARA training of core professional topics.

I’ve also learned a useful skill in budgeting for training events as well as event management. These are additional skills which I would not have learned in my current role as they are not required. I’m proud to work for both the Regional Committee and represent the region at the Training Group meetings. I, as well as all the other Training Officers, hope that contributing to ideas and actions for improved accessibility and organisation of ARA training events, which will benefit everybody in keeping professional standards as high as possible."