The latest edition of The National Archives’ research newsletter will be out on Monday. We’ve decided to give you a sneak preview by publishing one of the articles for today’s blog!
At the beginning of September 2012 the Research Team at The National Archives grew exponentially from two people to three! Victoria Lain has joined us as the new Research and Grants Advisor. I spoke to Victoria about her thoughts on her new role.
What were you doing before you joined the Research Team?
Prior to this position I worked for four years at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History as head of the Teaching American History Grant Department. I worked with school districts across the United States to apply for federally funded Teaching American History Grants from the Department of Education. We would then use the funds from these grants to organise workshops with historians and teachers from the school districts to enable them to improve their content knowledge and, hopefully, pass that along to their students.
Before that, I worked for a financial/publishing company to organise events. These were mostly for investors and financial managers and I got a lot of experience in how to arrange a successful conference. The fact that they took place in Grand Cayman, Bermuda and California didn’t hurt either!
What attracted you to your new role?
The idea of working in the UK grants world was very attractive, as I am mostly familiar with the US landscape for funding, so it seemed like a great opportunity to broaden my own knowledge. The National Archives also has such gravitas, and that was appealing in itself. The broad reach of the role meant that the job would require working with lots of different people, scholars, and organisations which would be a change for me, and something I look forward to.
Remaining within the academic realm was important to me as I conducted my new job search. I think I was lucky to find something that combined writing, editing, grants experience and the humanities.
Now you’ve had a few weeks to settle in, is it what you expected? How do you find working for The National Archives?
I think it has met and exceeded my expectations so far. The corporate induction day was a great way to meet some other new faces, and also to get a sense of how The National Archives works with scholars/the public. Everyone has been really welcoming and friendly, and I am looking forward to working with as many departments as possible on future grant bids.
It has been a great few weeks so far, and I have learned a lot. The National Archives’ broad remit means that the focus is much wider than just historical research. There is just so much going on. Coming from an office of 15 people this has been an adjustment, but an exciting one. I am really interested to see what is happening in the realm of digital initiatives and conservation/collection care.
What do you want to achieve in the role?
I would like to cement existing partnerships, and explore new possibilities for collaboration across research organisations and the wider archives sector. I would like to help The National Archives to be proactive in seeking funding opportunities, and raising the profile of research being done at The National Archives. I obviously would love to be successful in securing funding for The National Archives, and will try my best! Personally I would like to learn more about the way archives, museums and funding work in the UK, and find new ways to identify and capitalise on funding available.