ARA Awards for Excellence

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Do you know any archivists, conservators or records managers who deserve recognition for their achievements?

The Archives and Records Association wants to recognise excellence and contributions by individuals and teams in our sector. Now is your chance to celebrate the best of what we do and help raise the profile of archivists, conservators and records managers across the UK and Ireland.

To celebrate the achievements of record keeping professionals and their contribution to society, ARA has four special awards. These complement longer-standing schemes, such as those given to community archives and volunteers, nominations for lifetime achievement to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History, the Ellis Prize for archive theory and practice and the ARA FARMER award for the best student dissertation each year.

These special awards are all about celebrating individual and service excellence and will also help raise awareness of what we do - and why we do it - to the wider public.  We have received two nominations for New Professional of the Year (Julie Devenney and Philip Milnes-Smith) and one nomination for Record Keeper of the Year (Elaine MacGillivray). See the links below for details of each nomination. Voting opened on 3 July and will close at midnight on 21/22 July. To vote, click on the link here:

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board have decided that even though there is only one candidate for the Record Keeper of the Year, that the nomination should still go to a vote. There were no nominations for Record Keeping Service of the Year, so this category will not be awarded in 2019. The ARA Board has received four nominations for the Distinguished Service Award and will vote on them by 12 July.  All nominees will be notified of the results by 23 July, ie before we announce them to the wider membership.

Voting is now closed

  • New Professional of the Year nomination - Julie Devenney
  • New Professional of the Year nomination - Philip Milnes-Smith 
  • Record Keeper of the Year nomination - Elaine MacGillivray

Awards process for information only - nominations for 2019 are now closed

There are four Awards available:

  • Distinguished Service Award (DSA)

This award recognises individual conservators, archivists or records managers for career-long achievement and/or outstanding work, e.g. successful management/implementation of a project; external fundraising that has transformed a resource or service; significant improvements to service delivery, etc.

  • Record Keeper of the Year

This award acknowledges achievement by an individual archivist, conservator or records manager within the last eighteen months at any career stage.

  • Record Keeping Service of the Year

This award recognises achievements by an archive, conservation or records management service or operation within the last eighteen months. A service must employ staff with appropriate qualifications in order to be eligible, but can be nominated from any one of the three professional sectors.

  • New Professional of the Year Award

This award recognises the achievements by an individual member of the ARA’s section for new professionals within the last eighteen months. This award has switched from an autumn timeline to join the timeline of the other ARA Excellence Awards from 2019.

Nomination and judging

Distinguished Service Award - a simple nomination form.  Up to three nominations each year can be approved by the ARA Board.

Record Keeper of the Year/Record Keeping Service of the Yeara form with prompts, seeking reasons for nomination. Anyone or any group can complete these forms, not just ARA members.

New Professional of the Year – download the form below and follow the instructions. Anyone or any group can nominate someone for this award, not just ARA members.

The ARA Board may short-list nominations for New Professional of the Year, Record Keeper of the Year and Record Keeping Service of the Year if there is a large number of nominations. The names of short-listed candidates and supporting evidence will be posted on this website in advance of voting. Those nominating individuals or services may submit up to five digital or scan images to support their nominees. Voting itself for these three awards will be open to the public and encouraged by ARA publicity efforts. 

Why encourage external voting?

The awards are aimed at celebrating success and to encourage participation by wider, external audiences. Any publicity generated will raise awareness and advocacy for the three professional sectors. 

What will be the prize?

Rather than a monetary prize, the awards deliver acknowledgement of achievement by peers, customers, allies and friends in an area where success and innovation is seldom recognised. The awards are high quality trophies and will remain permanently with the recipients. Remember: great achievers inspire and encourage the whole profession. Let’s celebrate them. 

For the 2018 winners, please click here:

If you have any further questions please contact the Awards Secretary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .