Main Document 1.9MB
The Potential Social Impact of Archives
• Archives can make a significant contribution to promoting social inclusion in ways that prevent disadvantage through helping to develop personal and community identity and empowerment (2);
• The administrative role of archives means that they can play a small, yet unique, part in tackling the four key government objectives for social inclusion. This is linked to the role archives have in the democratic process and exercise of citizens’ rights (3);
Major Issues in Meeting the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Best Practice Framework
• The ability of archives to contribute is often determined by the policy and remit of their governing body and the nature of their collections. This is not to say that privately funded archives have no part to play (4.1.1);
• 40% of archives’ governing bodies surveyed do not have a policy on social inclusion and 17% of the archives do not know whether such a policy exists (4.1.1);
• Many archives services are concentrating their efforts on improving access for minority or under-represented groups and are not yet focussing on the impact their organisation can have on those at risk of social exclusion (4.2.1);
• Archives are attempting to develop new audiences, as a step towards social inclusion, but are doing so without the non-user research which is a pre-requisite to meeting new audiences’ needs (4.2.1);
• The creation and sustainability of partnerships is the most important factor in tackling social inclusion successfully (4.1.1).
The Challenges Archives Face
• In the context of static resources and increased usage, archives need to keep their existing services to users under constant review to ensure that the greatest possible level of resources is available for tackling non-users (4.5.1);
• There is an urgent need to raise the profile and awareness of archives both to the public and amongst other kinds of service provider at local, regional and national level (4.4.3.ii);
• Raising of profile and awareness is a necessary pre-cursor to meeting the challenges outlined by the Department of Culture,Media and Sport’s (DCMS) best practice policy framework (4.4.3.ii);
• The archive profession is seeking not only additional resources (4.5.1) but also clear guidance, networks, training and support (4.5.2) to promote social inclusion more successfully and establish sustainable partnerships (4.5.4).