Welcome to the ICA New Professionals newsletter no 1 January 2016
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Happy new year and welcome to the first issue of the International Council on Archives (ICA) New Professionals newsletter

Our goals are to:
  • Connect archives and records new professionals from around the world (A new professional is anyone with less than 5 years experience, including students)
  • Share your recordkeeping experiences
  • Keep you up to date with ICA activities you can get involved with
First let us introduce ourselves, we are...
We are the six new professional bursary winners who attended the 2015 Annual Conference in Iceland and we'll be in charge of the newsletter for the next year.

Invitation to Apply for Bursaries for the Seoul Congress September 2016

As part of its New Professionals Programme, ICA is offering bursaries to attend its 2016 Congress in Seoul. The application form is now available: Funding Request Form for the Seoul Congress September 2016
The application form on line must be filled in by 29th February 2016.
Information on how to apply for bursaries is available on the ICA website in English, French and Spanish.

Beyond ICA 2015: perspectives from new professionals


In March this year the six of us, among many other "new professional" archivists, applied for bursaries from the International Council on Archives to attend the 3rd annual conference. We sent our application in the hope of being selected and go to Iceland, meet other archivists and learn about the ARM field. Now, after several months, we look back and see that what we gained from the bursary was much more than the days in Reykjavik.

Pre-conference work

Working together before the conference we learnt to bridge the physical distance between us and our different backgrounds and current realities. We tried out new methods of online collaboration – including Facebook messenger, project management tools and collaborative work on shared documents - something quite new to a lot of us and a learning experience in itself, in fact quite a steep learning curve!

The conference itself

By the time we got to Reykjavik we all felt like we knew each other but it was great when we met for the first time in real life. A couple of days after meeting we were presenting our project at the conference. We were lucky enough to receive a warm reception with some very good feedback and practical advice (e.g. that there is always some overlap with other groups but that’s fine).

As well as our own presentation we attended as many sessions between us as possible and wrote short summaries for the New Professionals Facebook page and the ICA Facebook page. We also helped support workshops being held before the conference. The work on our own project didn’t stop just because we had presented on it – we carried on meeting between sessions to plan how we would take our ideas forward. One such idea has now become reality with this newsletter.
It wasn’t all work though, a new professional lunch was organised especially for us and we had some really enjoyable conversations with international colleagues during breaks and a formal evening event. We all felt very much supported and warmly welcomed by the community and found more senior archive professionals to be very approachable and helpful. As some of us had travelled a very long way to be in Reykjavik we made sure to try local food and the outdoor hot pools that Iceland is famous for! In the few hours that we weren’t busy we found time to socialise, explore Reykjavik as tourists and bond as a group.

Follow up work with ICA

After our experience in Reykjavik and meeting the people involved in ICA the organisation became more real. We could see from close how everything - from the organisation of the NP Programme to the setting up of the conference and the development of the website - was possible because there was people working hard on it, mostly as volunteers.

We also had chance to contact all the ICA’s projects, working groups and sections. Some of us are already involved and working with them. For example, Valentina is now helping with the translation of the Human Rights Working Group to Spanish; Kate is part of the Quality Assurance Team for the website redevelopment; and Marta is developing a database of advocacy resources and will involve other new professionals in the project - hoping for a closer collaboration between the ICA Advocacy Expert Group and new professionals.

We need you!

<<First Name>>, have you got something to share with the ICA New Professionals community? It could be something you've worked on like a new project or exhibition, or something you want to share about archives and records in your country.
Get in touch with us at

After comming back home: the impact of the conference

Esteemed New Professionals,

Have you chosen the profession of Archival and Records Management (ARM) as part of your future career path, then you are most welcome to join the ICA, ICA New Professionals Program and ICA annual conferences. That would certainly give you unique opportunities and possibilities to develop further your knowledge on ARM, to draw on the experience of some of the best ARM professionals in the world and have the space to discuss with other New Professionals from around the globe. That is what certainly what happened to me after joining ICA and NPP. I had the opportunity to learn from the best, network widely and have the pleasure to meet the brightest New Professionals in ARM.

Thus, join us and be part of a great ARM experience.
The conference exceeded my expectations in every aspect. I said in the run-up to it that I hoped to ‘meet other archives professionals who will open my eyes to yet new contexts and perspectives’, and that’s exactly what happened. I came back feeling enthusiastic and proud about belonging to this profession, and with much improved knowledge on what it’s like to be an archivist in other countries. I developed new friendships and realised just how open and supportive the other archive professionals are, and how keen they are to cooperate and share their knowledge.

I got to meet in person the other members of the Advocacy Expert Group and co-delivered our workshop to a group of participants from three different countries (USA, South Africa and Namibia), all of whom had completely different backgrounds and needs. It was a real eye-opener to realise just how wide the spectrum of advocacy needs is - from having to explain to local authorities why they need proper records management structures to looking out for artists and researchers who could interpret the collections and help make them more accessible to wider audiences.

The talks and presentations highlighted cutting edge projects, a lot of which address issues to do with social justice. It was inspiring to hear archivists talk about bringing about social change, being a vital part of social healing processes in post-conflict societies, and introducing innovative solutions in order to create more participatory environments, sensitive to all citizens’ needs.
The International Council on Archives (ICA) conference in Reykjavik 2015 and my participation in an intensive internship program with the national archives of Iceland in my career is better imagined than describe. I told everyone here in Nigeria that ICA conference and the internship made a great professional impact in my career than the two years used in studying Msc degree in Records, Archives and information Management.

My training program (Best Principles in Document/Records Management and archival administration designed to train records management and archival professionals on best practices was rated "C" before the conference. Today, after the conference and internship, the training program is currently rated "A" which is the highest ranking. I was indeed "injected" with a positive virus of excellence, hard work, discipline, good leadership by example as demonstrated by David Fricker, David Leitch, Eirikur Guðmundsson and Margaret Crockett respectively. It was awesome and overwhelming. The friendships and harmony is unparalleled. Meeting world class professionals like Laura Millar who l read some of her books as a student was encouraging. I have built a network of professionals within the duration of the conference and internship which ordinarily would have taken a life time.

Since my return, l have held trainings involving staff of the US embassy here in Nigeria and the mid level management team of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). I came back home as the Africa representative of and today l have been registered as a consultant in records and archives management in Nigeria. The acknowledge gained from the workshops and internship have transformed and revolutionized my career. Thank you to ICA and the National archives of Iceland.
I think that the correct words are: happy and satisfied!!

The Reykjavik congress was really different for me as I was able to see how big the professional group is, how all these professionals are related with archives and records management, and also understand the support and lines of work the ICA provides. I think that the congress was an opportunity to contribute and disseminate all this new knowledge, and be a responsible professional so that I can upgrade and improve in my country all the information related to records management.

From my perspective, the principal subjects discussed in the Reykjavik were very appropriate because nowadays professional commitment is required to enable access to information resources in an efficient and effective manner, and enhance citizen participation to improve democratic practices. These and others elements exposed at the conference are an especial focus point for us to consider the technology role, tools and all the responsibility that we have as information managers.
I wanted to absorb the latest records thinking in Reykjavik and I found out about new projects like e-ARK and PERSIST, where national archives and other organisations are working together. The sessions caused me to make the link between open government and records management: transparency requires unbiased records and traditional practices must change to make sure we capture digital records efficiently.

Since going back to work I’m making sure my organisation gets the benefits from digital working but also keeps information usable in the long-term. It’s amazing that although I work for a small local council in the UK I’ve now met some of the people who wrote the international guidance I’ve been using over the last few years.

What I wasn’t expecting was that I’m now helping with the ICA website review. I was offered this chance right after I said during the closing session that I’d like to contribute something back. It just shows you how one opportunity can lead to the next!
One of the things that most took my attention during the conference, was the multiple strings of collaboration that you can find among the organization. I saw this collaboration between the different sections – like the joint meeting in which I participated held by the Section of Business Archives (SBA), the Section of Professional Associations (SPA) and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) to discuss the role of business archives and archivists in relation to Human Rights. Another good example of collaboration, this time based in the international dimensions of the organisation, is what I hear about the Africa Strategy, by which the ICA is putting in place several efforts in order to help with the improving of Africa's records management conditions.

During the conference I was concerned about the limited presence of Latin America, reflected in the small participation of Latin American colleagues and in the scarce apparition of the regional perspective among the discussions. I am sure that language and economical barriers are the main reasons that explain this. However, after coming back home I realised that if there is an interest for knowing what is going on in the broader archival community and of working close together with archivists from other countries - as happens in Chile -, those barriers can be overcome. Considering the collaborative initiatives that I learnt about during the conference, now I feel that the ICA doors for doing collaborative projects are there. Now it is us who should go and knock on them.
Thanks for reading, look out for our next issue soon!
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