2014 was a great year for LHSA – we recapped some of our highlights in our last blog before the Christmas break, ranging from completing major pieces of work and ongoing developments with our projects and internships, to new and exciting outreach and engagement and our recent Accredited Archive Status.
Having looked back, it’s now time for us to look forward to what the next 12 months have in store for the team.
Of course our enquiries work continues to be a top priority for us; we saw a 10% increase in demand for our user services in 2014 so we will carry on helping to answer those research questions and meet the requests for access to LHSA material! But there will be a major change in this area. Laura, who has been with LHSA since 2007, has resigned as Archivist and Louise (who has been working as the Archivist since March last year when Laura went on a period of leave) will take over. We’re very sad to see Laura go, but she has exciting plans in Munich, where she has been for the last 10 months or so. We wish Laura all the very best and warmly welcome Louise to her new role, which will begin officially on 1 March.
Our other core business will continue as usual, including bringing in material to the Archive (we already have our first accession of the new year!), cataloguing, and conservation/preservation. In the case of the latter, we’ll be seeing more of our bound volumes and loose sheet material treated to make sure they are available for research now and in the future. Our established programme for volunteers, students on placement and internships will also be developed in the coming months. This means that important, supervised, work to catalogue, conserve and promote our collections can be carried out while, at the same time, we’re able to offer valuable experience to those wishing to pursue careers in our sector. We already have one new volunteer and in a few months we’ll be starting some new outreach work with a John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust award holder.
We’ll also be doing some exciting work on our Wellcome Trust funded projects. Clair joins us to complete the cataloguing of our HIV/AIDS collections, and Emily will be leading some new public engagement work, including the development of educational resources, with those collections. Our case note cataloguing work will carry on with the Norman Dott collections, and be joined by new work on our case notes that relate to TB and diseases of the chest.
The team are looking forward to the 2015 programme of outreach work within hospitals, and with staff from NHS Lothian and healthcare charities. This is something we do every year but it’s always different depending on the activities we’re getting involved with or the interests of the people with whom we’re collaborating. We’ll be helping to commemorate the 25th anniversary of St John’s Hospital and working with NHS Lothian colleagues to create new art installations drawing on archive material. We’ll also be offering talks and presentations to a wide variety of interest groups from the Scottish Genealogy Society to visitors to Edinburgh Central Library. The Central Library talk, open to all, will be on the 22nd of April at 2.30pm, looking at tracing patient experiences in the nineteenth century. You can book your free place here: http://bit.ly/1xKHAp9!
And, of course, we will continue to support the University’s teaching programme with both our collections and our own areas of expertise. Our contribution to the regular undergraduate History in Practice sessions and the postgraduate module for the MSc History of the Book will be accompanied by our work with Widening Participation (for more information about this please see our recent ‘Broadsheet’ article at http://www.scottisharchives.org.uk/broadsheet/issue31education.pdf), and events within Innovative Learning Week in February and the Festival of Museums in May.
We've already got a lot planned for the year ahead - we'll be kept busy building on our successes of last year. Watch this space for updates on all this work, and new developments as the year progresses!