Last updated on 22 November 2018

Victoria Brown is Programmes and Development Manager and Audrey Wilson is Skills for the Future Project Manager at the Scottish Council on Archives, and in 2016 they won a Digital Preservation Award for Teaching and Communications

When announcements of the nominations for the 2018 DPC digital preservation awards appeared, it was hard to believe two years had passed since (as hopeful nominees), we entered the grand marble foyer of the Wellcome Trust HQ. The list this year is truly impressive. The scale of the digital preservation challenge can obscure the fact that there are so many amazing projects and initiatives underway. Projects that are tackling sustainability, driving skills development and addressing the trickiest of quandaries through imaginative and applied research. It is both crucial and excellent that this work is being celebrated, recognised and shared.

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Emma Stagg (PM for TNA Project Transforming Archives), Audrey Wilson (PM for SCA Project Opening Up Scotland's Archives) and Victoria Brown (SCA's Programme and Development Manager) receive the award for Teaching and Communictions at the 2016 Digital Preservation Awards Ceremony 

Thinking back to 2016, it was genuinely humbling to see our project in the teaching and communications category alongside a media artworks preservation resource developed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate. Also, in the running was the Research Data Netherlands course for "data supporters" to assist researchers in storing, managing, archiving and sharing their research data. Our joint submission with the National Archives for our HLF-supported Skills for the Future traineeship programmes was in competitive company. Sure, we were hopeful and proud of the impact the traineeships were already having a year and a half into the three-year project. By no means did we expect to be called to stage as winners.

Winning the award was great for all the usual reasons – it’s wonderful to be held up as an example of good practice and to have the (international!) recognition of peers. The Scottish Council on Archives is a relatively small organisation so above all, the award validated the power of collaboration. The aim of our projects was big - to transform the archive workforce by bringing people with specialist skills (including strong IT skills and experience) into the heritage sector and offering alternative pathways to careers in archives.

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We ran our programme in parallel with TNA and their support and experience was invaluable. Our projects involved the contributions of 26 archive services across Scotland and England, two excellent Project Managers, the hard work of 55 talented trainees, training materials developed by the University of Dundee and the support of the Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland. Countless other individuals and organisations, including the National Records of Scotland, generously offered their time and knowledge in support of the trainees.

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Digital preservation trainee, from year 3 of the Skills for the Future Project, Ruth Marr presents the Capacity Planning Toolkit at the first of two launches at Glasgow City Chambers.

The best thing about winning the award was the opportunity to thank the many people who made the project such a success.

As an organisation, SCA has long been aware of the importance of partnership working. Delivering on a big remit with a small team has made it essential to our work, in every area. Working in collaboration can be challenging in all kinds of ways but it brings huge rewards. Now that the traineeship project has drawn to a close, its brilliant to see so many trainees now working in the sector where those much-needed digital skills continue to grow. There is a still work to be done in addressing skills gaps and diversifying the archive sector workforce but we’re pleased to know we’ve contributed to progress.

Winning the DPC award in 2016 reinforced the fact that when it comes to big aims and even bigger challenges, working together is the best and only way to go.

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