ARA Announces Winners of its 2017 Excellence Awards

Lesley Richmond, Aideen Ireland, Worcestershire Archive and ArchaeologyService, Dr Melinda Haunton Honoured

ARA AwardsLogo RGBARA Announces Winners of its 2017 Excellence Awards

Lesley Richmond, Aideen Ireland, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, and Dr Melinda Haunton Honoured

15 May 2017

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) today announces the winners of its annual Excellence Awards for 2017.

Inaugurated in 2016, the awards cover three specific categories:

  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Record-keeping Service of the Year
  • Record-keeper of the Year.

All candidates are nominated by their peers or stakeholders in the archives, records and conservation community. The Record-keeping Service and Record-keeper of the Year awards are determined by open vote. Candidates for the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) are decided by a secret ballot of the ARA’s Board of Trustees – and winners are normally limited to a maximum of two people per year.

Distinguished Service Awards 

The winners of this year’s DSA are Ms Lesley Richmond and Ms Aideen Ireland.

Ms Richmond became Director of Archive Services at the University of Glasgow in 2001 after an extensive career in the business archives and records world, including as the first-ever archivist employed by Racal-Chubb in the 1980s (part of what is now Vodafone). Her distinguished career in the university sector has included 30 years at Glasgow University and  responsibility for the management of the University archives, which date back to the fifteenth century, the non-current “business records” of the University, and one of the largest collections of business archives in Europe. Ms Richmond retired in 2016.

Ms Ireland was only the second professionally-trained archivist to be employed by the Public Record Office of Ireland. She graduated with an archives diploma from University College, Dublin in 1974. Aside from her extensive work at the National Archives of Ireland and across the sector during a distinguished career, Aideen has also served as a member of the council, as president and as fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland and as council member and fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, London. Ms Ireland retired in 2016.

Geoff Pick, Director of the London Metropolitan Archives and Chair of the ARA’s Board of Trustees commented:

“I congratulate Lesley and Aideen on their deserved awards. I have known them much of my career and have seen first-hand how they have pioneered new ideas, partnerships and services to the benefit of students, the wider public and the profession itself. ‘Distinguished’ doesn’t really describe the half of what they have achieved. Altogether, they have been role models, an inspiration and a credit to their institutions and professional record-keeping community.”

Ms Richmond and Ms Ireland will receive their awards at individual ceremonies later in the year.

Record-keeping Service of the Year

In a very strong field of four exceptional short-listed archives and records candidates, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service – part of Worcestershire County Council – emerged as winners this year.

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service was formed in January 2012, with the merging of the old Worcestershire Record Office and Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service. At the same time, it relocated to The Hive, Worcester, alongside Worcester City Library, University of Worcester Library Services and The Worcestershire Hub in a shared multi-service Private Finance Initiative (PFI) building. The Hive has achieved high recognition from organisations representing all the constituent services for innovate service delivery, including The National Archives (UK). The Service also obtained Archive Service Accreditation in 2013, one of the first three local authority services to do so, and has received wide praise for maintaining a quality service despite significant pressures on the local authority budget, in part through innovative new collaborations.

John Chambers, ARA’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service was the clear winner of this year’s Record-keeping Service of the Year award. It is not alone, of course, in having committed, professional staff in the local government sector that are determined to maintain a quality service to the wider community in the county despite acute financial pressures. But its range and depth of activities and success in placing itself at the heart of the culture life of Worcestershire are just two reasons that make the Service special. I also pay tribute to the runners-up: Suffolk Record Office, Aviva plc Archives, and Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives, all of whom would have been deserved winners in their own right.”

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service will receive its award at an event and ceremony later in the year in Worcester, to be presented by the ARA’s President, Dr Alexandrina Buchanan.

Record-keeper of the Year

This year’s winner of the individual award for Record-keeper of the Year is Dr Melinda Haunton of The National Archives (UK) in London.

Dr Haunton currently manages a national standards scheme, the Archive Service Accreditation (ASA) programme, a partnership between TNA and a range of bodies across the UK and Republic of Ireland, including the ARA. In the past two years, the scheme has accredited over 50 successful archives and records offices and has become visible to virtually everyone in the records profession. Without Melinda’s drive and commitment, the ASA’s aims could not have been put into practice or achieved the number of successful accreditations to date. Dr Haunton did her first degrees Exeter University, followed by a doctorate at Royal Holloway in 2000. She qualified as a professional archivist in 2008 via distance learning and working full time.

John Chambers added:

“Melinda is a leading light in the sector, and I am delighted that we – her colleagues – now have the chance to recognise her drive and commitment in our own small way. In addition to her tireless efforts on archive accreditation, in which ARA is a leading partner, Melinda has given her own personal time freely to many other initiatives in the sector in the past eighteen months. These have included the ARA’s Volunteering Committee and as a panel judge for the Business Archives Council Wadsworth Prize for Business History.”

Dr Haunton will receive her award at an event and ceremony later in the year, also to be presented by the ARA’s President, Dr Alexandrina Buchanan.

Notes for Editors:

The ARA’s Excellence Awards began in 2016 and are open to archivists, records managers and archive conservators across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) acts is the leading professional and membership body for archivists, records managers and conservators in the British Isles. It currently has around 2,500 members and has been growing steadily for the past five years.