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Brick Walls and Tick Boxes

Fife, Kirsty ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8730-612X and Henthorn, Hannah (2021) Brick Walls and Tick Boxes. The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (IJIDI), 5 (1). pp. 6-32.

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Abstract

Archives Unlocked, the U.K. National Archives’ strategic vision for the archive sector, identifies the need for diversity to be embedded in all parts of the archives sector. As workers, we need to ensure that “the rich diversity of society is reflected in our archives’ collections, users and workers” (The National Archives, 2017, p.13). Despite strategic aims and investment in specific schemes (delivered by The National Archives, Creative Skillset, and the Heritage Lottery Fund) which seek to diversify the sector, there are still structural barriers which prevent the workforce from diversifying and realising these ambitions. In 2017, the authors of this paper began collaborating on a grassroots project to explore the experiences of archive workers from marginalised backgrounds. The project collected anonymous survey data from 97 people which explored experiences of work and qualification. As two archive workers who have experience of accessing the archive sector workforce via diversity bursaries and scholarship, we wanted our research to articulate a common set of frustrations that are often shared but rarely documented or consulted when developing diversity and inclusion strategies and schemes. By utilising lived experiences as our main research data in this paper, we re-centre discussions about diversity and inclusion around the lived experience of those currently on the margins of the archive workforce.

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