The Strategy of the Churchill Archives Centre
The core objectives of the Archives Centre can be defined as follows:
- To build on its position as one of the premier repositories in the United Kingdom for modern personal papers.
- To ensure that it offers the best standards of preservation for the materials in its care.
- To continue to make its archival material available to researchers at all levels, from school children to university professors, both on site in Cambridge and remotely, while retaining the core principle of free access on site.
- To support the broader work of Churchill College, and to preserve the College’s own institutional history.
To deliver these core objectives, the Archives Centre seeks:
- To provide the best facilities for access to the unique archival collections, both on site in the Archives Centre and remotely.
- To promote the archive materials to new audiences.
- To ensure that the service as a whole is meeting the needs of its users by engaging with all stakeholders and by conducting regular assessments and reviews of user need.
- To guarantee the best physical facilities for its unique collections, maintained to the standards set out in BS 4971:2017 and EN 16893:2018, with arrangements in place to secure, preserve and make available material in all relevant formats, including digital.
- To review, identify, assess and mitigate all significant risks to the collection.
- To ensure that the team of the Archives Centre is well trained and able to work to the relevant professional standards and to implement the agreed policies and procedures, including preparing for future challenges.
- To identify and seek to acquire important archives of personal papers falling within the collections policy.
- To provide a consistent standard of conservation, preservation, collection processing and cataloguing.
- To ensure that the Archives Centre has good leadership and governance with a clear framework of policies and related procedures to govern standards of preservation, collection processing and service delivery and the mechanisms in place to regularly review such policies and procedures.
- To manage its finances so that the Archives Centre endowments keep pace with growth and development so that the core service can be funded, while raising additional funding from philanthropic trusts or individuals to support short term projects.
- To ensure compliance with the relevant legal requirements (including copyright law, Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation).
- To communicate in the most effective ways with its stakeholders, including through the use of the website and social media.
- To act as the repository for the institutional archive of Churchill College, Cambridge, and to advise the College on the creation, management, storage and retention of its records.
In order to deliver these objectives, the Centre has the following strategic priorities for the period 2018-20:
- To work with Churchill College and the School of Humanities within the University of Cambridge to establish a Churchill research hub, comprising an endowed chair in Modern History and Policy within the History Faculty, a linked in Fellowship in Churchill College, and a raft of related programming within the Churchill Archives Centre. This is a major fundraising and development campaign.
- To identify, install, test and implement a digital preservation management system for ingesting, preserving, cataloguing and providing access to records in electronic format.
- To work with the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust on the opening of the Thatcher Papers for 1988-90.
- To work with Sir John Major and his office on the cataloguing and opening of his personal papers.
- To work with the Brown Archive Trust on the appraisal, accessioning and processing of the personal papers of Gordon Brown.
- To continue with collection care risk assessment.
- To increase profile and public engagement through greater use of social media.
- To help Churchill College implement records management and achieve a smooth transition to the new General Data Protection Regulations.
More generally, the full range of current projects by which the Centre’s strategic aims are being met are set out in the Archives Centre Strategic Plan, which is regularly reviewed and updated by the Senior Management Team, and which will henceforth be shared with the Churchill College Archives Committee and with the Churchill College Bursar (as Chief Financial Officer) on an annual basis.