It appears some time has passed since I last wrote anything on my beloved blog – and what a ride it’s been since the last post! A lot has changed in the Design Archives in the past two years, and now we continue to be in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m sure I echo a lot of people’s thoughts when I say it has been an incredibly surreal and difficult year so far. We must all brace ourselves for the inevitable changes that are heading our way – and I am, of course, not just referring to the archives and conservation sectors. While we can only wait and see what the fallout will be, I truly only hope that the majority of you have managed to stay safe and sane in the middle of all the madness.
To give you a quick update, our currently 3-strong team has been taking on this working-from-home since the 20th March, when the University closed its doors. For me personally this has obviously meant no conservation, preservation or digitisation work as access to the Archives was on hold, so I have been working around the other aspects of my job as far as I am able. I’ve also had the opportunity to take part in some online courses, seminars and panel discussions organised by International Academic Projects, Institute of Conservation and the National Archives , so continued professional development has been possible, albeit online, and these events have kept my brain ticking at times when I thought I didn’t have any left! I would thoroughly commend the inventiveness of colleagues that has risen from this completely new situation we are all facing despite the adjustments we have all had to make being far from an easy ride.
Just two days before the University closed its doors, we took delivery of a beautiful new height adjustable conservation bench made by Willard Conservation Equipment Engineers – in these weird times it only takes the lure of more surface space to get me going… It’s the little things, right? She has been sitting in the office all by herself all this time… until this week!
I have been arranging a loan of a single poster from the Design Council Archive to go to the Design Museum’s upcoming display entitled Margaret Calvert: Woman at Work. On my weekly pre-arranged visits to the Archives to read the hygrometers and do a general check on things, I was also able to have a look at the condition of the poster the Design Museum requested. Forgive me if this is going to sound a little wrong: I was quietly happy that the poster required some (very minor) tear repairs. This gave me a chance to get some tools out and give the table its maiden mission. There was really not a lot to do but it was so much better than nothing!
Before I go (and in case the news might have passed you by), I want to shout about our biggest news… We were just over a week into the lockdown when we were able to officially announce that we achieved Archive Service Accreditation. We are desperate to celebrate this enormous achievement in style but this, like everything else, has had to be put on hold for the time being. We are still planning on doing just that when it is safe to do so – and it is definitely good to have something positive to look forward to!