What do historians and archivists talk about when they meet? The National Archives has co-organisedÂ two events in 2016 toÂ bring the two communities together to explore the nature of archives.
The first event was on Friday 29 January, when delegates at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) Winter Conference debated the production of archives, looking at who produces archives, how they are produced and how this is changing.
The second event, this yearâ€™s Gerald Aylmer Seminar on 29 April, is intended as a sequel to the Winter Conference and will consider the experience of archives. How does the historianâ€™s experience differ from that of the archivist, and what can the two communities learn from each other?
Anyone sceptical about the state of historian-archivist dialogue would have been impressed by the sheer number of people attendingÂ Januaryâ€™s Winter Conference, and by the quality of the debate, which ranged over theory and practice. The keynote by Eric Ketelaar, Professor of Archivistics at the University of Amsterdam and previously General State Archivist of The Netherlands, set the bar very high. Three panel sessions, entitled â€˜Textâ€™, â€˜Digitalâ€™ and â€˜From Text to Digitalâ€™, focused on the production of archives from a variety of perspectives, and were followed by a round table discussion which, among other things, explored the role of national archives (with a small â€˜nâ€™). You can view the full programme on the IHR website.
All the delegates at the Winter Conference will have had their own responses to the day. Discussions were lively, and there was a lot of commentary on Twitter (#IHRWIN16). The reflections and examples below are from my point of view. Continue reading »