So here’s the way we do things in the archive world: You have your boxes of papers, all messy and disorganised. Then you try and impose some order on them, trying to make sense of how the records were originally created and maintained. After a well-earned tea break (of course, a safe distance away from the original, unique documents!), you start to organise them into neat and pretty categories and form a lovely tidy hierarchy, which supposedly reflects the structure and organisation of the creating body. Or that’s the theory anyway …

Since starting this project in October, I’ve been thinking about my role as archivist for the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR). I’ve been considering what it means to open up a previously inaccessible archive collection, and the dynamics of bringing the collection out of the storage centre and into the light. I’ve also been thinking about what we mean when we talk about archives and institutional memory, and the role that an archive plays in organisational development and as a form of socio-cultural intervention …

Inspirational walk St Dunstans in the East

We all know the route we take every day to work; we know what corner to turn and what road to cross. We know what line to take and what change to make as we reluctantly descend the escalators where we cram onto a literal tube filled with people we don’t know yet hate even before we see their faces. However, maybe we didn’t know that our favourite pub to go for drinks with colleagues is actually the oldest pub in town […]

“Three hundred boxes?! That’s a lot isn’t it?”

Me: “Erm..yeah I guess so”

“How do you even start to make sense of all that stuff?”

I’ve been having a few conversations along these lines at the moment. The non-archivist I’m talking to will look puzzled as I say the key words: New job. Tavistock Institute. 300+ boxes. 2 years. Archive. Cataloguing […]