Second-year student Nell Gulliver talks about her placement with Screen Archive South East.
“I came to my studies a little later in life than most at 36 and wanted to choose a degree pathway that would interest me and keep the initial excitement going for the 6 years it will take to complete as a part-time student. I chose Philosophy, Politics and Ethics Ba Hons, as these fields are everchanging and would challenge me. My previous studies, before motherhood put them on pause, had included political philosophy which ignited my activism and interest in studying further. The addition of a placement module to my course seemed like a great opportunity and I was pleased that being a part-time student did not exclude me from taking up the opportunity.
Once I had been accepted by Screen Archive South East I was happy to find out I would be cataloguing a collection of oral history interviews with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. One of my chosen option pathways is based around forgotten histories from marginalized groups and the place of archives within this. The strong links between my studies and placement were apparent and I believe have been beneficial. It has been interesting to find out about cultures that I was not as well informed about as I would like to be, and to see the finished result of an oral history project. This is particularly helpful as my final project includes interviews that will be used as an oral history. To see how these interviews can shape history and archiving has been great.
Writing catalogue entries did not come without its challenges, for the past four years my tutors have been telling me that my voice should be heard in my essays, but archive cataloguing I found is very different. I had to adapt my writing style so that it was purely descriptive of what I had viewed and remain neutral so the entries would reflect only what was spoken. Understanding that the cataloguer’s notes become a part of the historical narrative and the guidelines and procedures that are involved has been eye opening. As have the conversations with Jane King, Film Office and Enterprise manager and Frank around the history, frameworks and language of the archive. I was shown the process of archiving from submission of film all the way to the result of the item being archived and made available online. This is knowledge that I would not have been able to gain without my placement and I am very grateful to the whole team for making this possible.
My placement has given me a lot of knowledge that I would not have gained purely from my course and being able to link it my studies has been useful. The placement experience and knowledge will be a great addition to my C.V. I hope that in two years’ time, with my degree completed and the placement I will land my dream job within an archive!”
Second year students on the Humanities programme have the opportunity to spend 50 hours on a placement with a local not-for-profit organisation such as a charity, human rights NGO, community group or cultural project. The students explore the connections between theory, policy and practice in a practical context and can reflect upon future careers and develop the skills needed to pursue them.