It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been working with Special Collections for two weeks; I feel like I’ve learnt so much already.
Getting to know the team through hands-on experience has been great. Highlights have included supporting Fiona, Kirsty and Rose deliver workshops with university students. And shadowing a session led by Suzanne, which was linked to the University’s Widening Participation scheme, felt like the perfect introduction to Mass Observation; it was inspiring to observe the excitement of Six Form students while they handled original documents.
What has been particularly valuable is gaining insight into how it feels to encounter a totally new resource for the first time. Mass Observation, and the other archives held by the University of Sussex at The Keep, are just as unfamiliar to me as they are to the students. Coming from a background in education, it is wonderful to realise just how exciting this ‘fresh’ engagement can be.
Having supported East Sussex Record Office relocate to The Keep, it hasn’t taken me long to get accustomed to my new workplace, but getting to know this entirely new set of collections will take more time. I consequently plan to use my blog entries as a means of familiarising myself with the collections. Each week, I will explore a different theme in an attempt to understand the collections breadth. By looking at four main subjects – places, people, documents and ephemera – I will additionally aim to make my posts varied and exciting (you might get bored by my weekly ramblings unless they have a focus!)
So keep checking the Special Collections blog to find out what I’ve discovered.