Hugely impactful launch week for EYA campaign

The incredible impact and reach of this campaign's launch week is evidentfrom the statistics in this article.

Explore2015Last November saw the launch of the 2020/2021 Explore Your Archive campaign, an all year round UK and Ireland-wide initiative which aims to celebrate the richness and variety within archives – why they are relevant to our world today, what they can tell us and how they can entertain us. The campaign was first established in 2014.

The goals of Explore Your Archive are to encourage the public to explore archives and to urge archivists, records managers, conservators, researchers and lovers of archives of all kinds to share their experience and promote their collections and work throughout the year.

Explore Your Archive is largely run on social media, with daily themes for the launch week and monthly themes for the rest of the year agreed and applied throughout the year by the four nations. The campaign's website holds a host of resources, blogs and social media content for members of the public and archive professionals. With a particular focus on Twitter, the Explore Your Archive campaign links monthly hashtags and regular promotional campaigns throughout each year, helping to reach a global audience.

Helping to bring attention to the campaign, this year's launch week took place from 21st -29th November. The daily themes for the launch week were communication, home, plans, education, labels, science, celebration, health and light. Archive professionals shared images, stories and facts about their collections connected to each day's theme on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The incredible impact and reach of the campaign's launch week is evident from the statistics:

  • Total number of #ExploreYourArchive posts on Twitter was 3,503
  • The most popular themes were Communication, Education and Plans
  • #ExploreYourArchive was in Twitter's Top 50 UK trending topics on eight of the nine days
  • More than eight million people (8,373,801) saw a post with the #ExploreYourArchive hashtag by mid-afternoon of Day 1 on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (not including the Royal Family's Instagram - see below!)
  • The @explorearchives Twitter account gained nearly 300 new followers during the week
  • The official Royal Family Instagram (@theroyalfamily - 8.4 million followers) took part every day via their Stories. Their original post announcing participation in #ExploreYourArchive Launch Week currently has more than 183,000 likes

At the end of January 2021, the monthly themes for the forthcoming year will be announced. To give these themes an extra boost, the 10th of every month is #ExploreYourArchive day – a day dedicated to showcasing archives and records related to the current month's theme.

Each ARA Nation, Region and Section can choose how to interact with the campaign. For example, ARA Scotland has chosen the theme ArchI've Connected: Museums, Galleries, Libraries, Archives for the 2020/2021 period. It held a launch week webinar on Monday 23rd November from 1-2PM on Teams. The webinar featured Dr Peter Lester from the University of Leicester, who talked about using archives in exhibitions. Peter explored some key themes around exhibiting archives and the narratives and stories they can tell.

ARA Ireland held its Explore Your Archive online launch on Thursday 19th November. ARA Ireland always appoints an EYA ambassador for the year who is well known to the Irish public and has an interest in archives. Its chosen ambassador for the 2020/2021 campaign is Emma Dabiri, writer, broadcaster and academic who is from Dublin and has Irish and Nigerian parents. ARA Ireland has its own dedicated website which promotes archive related news items, resources, events and exhibitions on the island of Ireland, including Explore your Archive events.

The Explore Your Archive team would like to express their gratitude to Sarah Moses who has played an instrumental role in the success of this year's campaign.

Get involved in this year's campaign by following Explore Your Archive on Twitter and on Instagram, or visit the campaign's website.