Statement on diversity in the record-keeping sector

The issue of diversity in the record-keeping profession continues to bea key focus of the ARA’s activity. Recent steps to address the issue,both within the ARA and across the wider record-keeping sector, are includedin this statement.

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Statement on diversity in the record-keeping sector.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate on social media and on the archives-nra listerv in recent days on the issues of racism and diversity in the record-keeping sector. We thought it would be useful to summarise the work ARA has been doing and will continue to undertake.

The issue of diversity in the record-keeping profession continues to be a key focus of the ARA’s activity. Recent steps to address the issue, both within the ARA and across the wider record-keeping sector, have included the following:

  • Committing to an external governance review of the ARA in 2020/21 which will include an examination of our handling of diversity and inclusion issues
  • Carrying out diversity and inclusion training for the ARA Board and staff in spring 2020
  • Lobbying the Archives Accreditation Committee for increased focus on diversity and inclusion as part of the accreditation process
  • Working with The National Archives to develop a programme of diversity training for the record-keeping sector
  • Opening up alternative routes into the profession through our new experience route to registered status on the ARA Professional Development Programme
  • Supporting further alternative routes into the profession through the development of Level 3 and Level 7 apprenticeships in England
  • Engaging with the issues raised by recent events through a special issue of ARC magazine in 2020 and a diversity themed volume of the Archives and Records Journal in 2021
  • Hosting a weekly call on our ARA Together online forum on the subject of racism in archives which was joined by 185 participants
  • Joining colleagues in the museum sector in signing a Joint Statement of intent for the heritage sector: https://www.archives.org.uk/latest-news/807-joint-statement-of-intent-for-the-heritage-sector.html

A more detailed report on our current activity and future plans from Jenny Moran, our Board’s Diversity portfolio holder, will be published in the coming weeks.

We recognise that the ARA may not be the most suitable forum for all of the discussions and actions that need to take place relating to racism and diversity in the record-keeping sector. We welcome the activity that is taking place elsewhere and are committed to working with groups and organisations across the heritage sector to create lasting change.

Karl Magee, Chair, Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland)