Today, The National Archives launches Becoming the Inclusive Archive, a fresh approach to inclusion and a step towards achieving goals set out in the 2019 strategy Archives for Everyone.
In that four-year strategy we stated that we would:
- Remove barriers to access, participation and understanding.
- Harness talent from diverse backgrounds.
- Be bold, active and outward-looking.
Becoming the Inclusive Archive was approved in January by The National Archives’ board after a period of development and discussion with key internal and external stakeholders. Its four key workstreams of workforce, audience, practice and position reflect The National Archives’ comprehensive approach to inclusion.
The plan aims to strengthen and accelerate work and activities already in progress, as well as incorporating new projects being developed in partnership with The National Archives’ Trust, greater accessibility in digital services and archive sector initiatives. It also includes the commitment to work more closely with partners and friends, within and outside of archives, other cultural heritage organisations and bodies, and representative groups and communities.
Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives, said:
‘In 2019 we made a commitment to become in every way an archive for the future. A key part of this strategy is our commitment to make our archives truly accessible and inclusive for all, whether that is on site, online or out in our communities.
That mission now feels more important than ever, as we seek to manage and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on access. So Becoming the Inclusive Archive sets out a practical approach, based on what our staff, audiences and communities have told us is important to them. This new plan marks a key step in our progress towards that goal.’
Becoming the Inclusive Archive also serves as a catalyst for us to find new ways to connect people with archives, for example, with our new online events and exhibitions, while bearing in mind the current restrictions.
Vicky Iglikowski-Broad, Principal Records Specialist – Diverse Histories at The National Archives, said:
‘Our archive is a real treasure trove of stories from a thousand years of our history. People are often surprised at the diversity and range of our collections and so my colleagues are working to engage with audiences who wouldn’t necessarily think that our archives have something for them.’
We will share how we put Becoming the Inclusive Archive into practice on our website and social media channels.
Current restrictions and access
The National Archives’ on site public services are currently suspended due to nationwide COVID restrictions. Our teams are working remotely, and on site where necessary, to support our statutory work and online public services. Digital downloads have been made free of charge for a limited period to improve access to the collection whilst our reading rooms are closed. Follow us on social media or watch our online news for updates.