University of Exeter Special Collections Team praised for their work for the community

The University’s Special Collections holds almost 500 archive collections and several thousand rare books

The University of Exeter Special Collections Team have been praised for their work to showcase incredible objects from the past in the community.

The team, who have been awarded Archive Service Accreditation, were also commended for their skills in supporting students teaching and learning at the university.

Caroline Walter, Interim Head of Heritage Collections said ““This recognition by the National Archives is a tribute to the hard work and professionalism of the Special Collections team. The University’s Special Collections holds almost 500 archive collections and several thousand rare books. Many of our collections are of international importance and we are recognised for our significant collection of Southwest writers’ archives, which includes the papers of Daphne Du Maurier, William Golding, and Charles Causley. The team work tirelessly to support learning and research around these fascinating resources, in addition to engaging the wider public with the collections through a combination of outreach events, online exhibitions and external partnerships.”

Archive Service Accreditation is the UK standard for archive services.  It defines good practice and identifies agreed standards within the archive sector. It is a UK wide quality standard which offers a benchmark for gauging performance, recognising achievement, and driving improvement within the archives sector.

Archive Service Accreditation is awarded by the UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee, representing the entire archive sector. It is supported by a UK-wide partnership of The National Archives, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Welsh Government through its Culture Division, Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), Scottish Council on Archives, and Archives and Records Council Wales.

Those with the status are recognised for their good performance in all aspects of governance and management, collections management, and provision of services to all users. They are also judged on work to make collections sustainable and robust, to ensure the long-term acquisition, preservation, and accessibility of archive heritage. Archive services must show their work is relevant and resilient in a changing internal and external environment and they are demonstrating effective planning, decision making and optimal use of resources.

The Special Collections team at the University of Exeter were praised for establishing “a clear strategic approach, positive risk management and real ambition to deliver for the future”. The UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee said their activities in outreach, civic engagement, teaching, research support and online collections access were “strong and growing, built on partnerships, community needs and areas which support the university’s priorities”.

The committee said: “The service delivers significant levels of teaching and the collections support internships in the Digital humanities, ensuring students get hands on experience in heritage skills.” “The service has a strong sense of its value within the university, in the region and globally, and is actively building connections and partnerships to take this work forward.”