This is Pawel and Lizzie Transforming Archives trainees for 2015-2016. We are now 7 weeks into our traineeship and wanted to share the exciting work we’ve been doing! Our traineeships are 2 of 13 places in the second cohort of The National Archive’s ‘Transforming Archives’ programme, a three-year Skills For The Future programme supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund. As well as introducing us to the work of archives each traineeship provides on the job training in specialisms including digital preservation, digitisation, collection development, outreach and engagement and traditional skills.
Lizzie: My traineeship focuses on Outreach and Engagement and involves working with the public in all sorts of forms from behind-the-scenes tours to school visits and family activities. As well as supporting the preparation and delivery of group activities I am involved in two main projects: Change Minds, a project for participants living in North Norfolk with mental health conditions and a WWII digitisation project, documenting the airmen of the 448th Bomb Group stationed at Seething Airfield, a collection which belongs to Pat Everson.
So far my tasks have been many and varied and have included designing embroidery patterns based on World War 1 silks, drawing a life sized WW1 soldier based on information from original documents and supporting participants of Change Minds to research 19th century patients at The Norfolk County Asylum.
For the past three years I have worked as a secondary school teacher of art and design and humanities and I am really looking forward to extending this experience to working with different age groups here at the Norfolk Record Office. I am particularly interested in using art as a method to engage the public with our collections and in developing my marketing skills so please do keep an eye on our website and blog to see what we have planned for the next few months!
Pawel: The focus of my traineeship is Digital Preservation and Digitisation. I have been very lucky to be offered this opportunity as it enables me to build on my twofold experience: as a photographer and filmmaker and as a professional content manager for the Video on Demand service MUBI. Whilst working at MUBI, amongst other things, I was responsible for organising the film library and digital assets inventory and creating different versions of a film to be published online for networks including PS3, Google TV and Sony BRAVIA.
Because of my working background I was originally interested in working with audiovisual records, ideally for film archives. This changed however the moment I came into contact with the wider archive sector and realised to what extent all records are interconnected in the way they represent cultural heritage. Before starting this traineeship I spent a year volunteering within the business archives department at London Metropolitan Archives. Cataloguing projects I worked on there included ‘Chubb Collectanea’, COLLAGE an image and film repository and ‘rukus! Black LGBT Archives’. I also took a course organised by Film London London’s Screen Archives entitled ‘Volunteer for Film Archive’ and helped to catalogue and research copyright for a film collection at Bromley Local Studies and Archives.
For the past few weeks my work at the NRO has mainly focused on methods and tools for digital preservation. I am looking into the ways Norfolk Record Office could move forward with establishing Open Archival Information System-compliant workflows and procedures regarding digital accessions. I am learning more about managing archives including those which are digitally born. I have also been evaluating and testing the latest digital forensics tools alongside more comprehensive digital preservation solutions, like Archivematica.
In addition to this I am spending one day a week digitising original records relating to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse forming part of three-year Heritage Lottery Fund project “Voices from the Workhouse”.