ArchI’ve Celebrated

Celebrating archives and the collections held in them is a main focus of Explore Your Archive.

Anyone can take part in the campaign at any time Use the branding to promote events run by your organisation or run your own specific Explore event to raise awareness of your collections.

Each year there is a dedicated Focus Week for the campaign, during which we aim to hold a launch event in each of the four ARA ‘Nations’ – in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (the ARA has an Ireland region that covers the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). A social media campaign runs throughout the week and all record keeping organisations are encouraged to get involved in some way.

In 2022, Focus Week will run from – 28th November – 6th December

Launch of Outside the Box podcast

In Explore Your Archive week 2022 we are launching our first podcast series aimed at the general public: Outside the Box.

In this new initiative from Explore Your Archive and the Archives and Records Association we explore a wide variety of archives and the wonders they contain and talk to the people who work in them and with them.

Our first series has everything from female boxing matches, live theatre streaming in the 19th century, Denis the Menace and suffragette protest – although not all in the same archive!

The podcast is presented by Deborah Mason and produced by Lily Colgan. You can listen to the trailer here:

All episodes will be available here and via most podcast hosting services (eg Spotify etc)

Outside the Box – Series 1

Episode 1 –  2 December

Seven hundred years of history restored to the Irish nation – Beyond 2022- The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

Zoe Reid, Keeper of the National Archives in Ireland, tells the story of how the Public Record Office was destroyed in 1922 and how in 2022 the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland has recreated a significant part of the lost records – some through conservation, some through obtaining digital copies of records held by other organisations around the world.

You can visit the Virtual Record Treasury here

(rabbit hole warning – browse to your hearts content in this virtual reality reading room but it may take over your life!)

Episode 2 – 5 December

Putting yourself into the archive – Workie Ticket Theatre

JoJo Kirtley, founder and co-artistic director of Workie Ticket Theatre tells the story of how, over the course of several lockdowns she worked with the communities of North Tyneside to ensure that their voices and their stories of the COVID-19 pandemic would be part of the future history of our times.  Listen in to find out how she did it and why Workie Ticket Theatre won the Community Archives and Heritage Group overall award for 2022.

You can find out more about Workie Ticket Theatre here

You can find out more about the CAHG Awards here:

Episode 3 – 12 Dec

Live streaming before the internet – BT and Electrophone

If you thought that live streaming theatre performances came in with the internet then you are in for a surprise! Natasha Kitcher has been researching the Electrophone – the first UK based theatre (and church service) streaming device from the late 19th century. Its history is kept in the BT Archives and Anne Archer (Head of BT Group Archives) and Natasha tell the story of this and some other early tech.

BT Group Archives is open for research visits by appointment – see for more details. Explore a wealth of content online at

Episode 4 – 19 December

The inspiring history of the Disability Arts movement – The National Disability Art Collection and Archive

Project Archivist, Alex Cowan, gives us an overview of the disability arts movement and how the archive tells the stories of the inspirational people who have been involved in it over the years.

You can find out more about those people and their stories here

The archive can be visited by appointment – please contact the first instance with any enquires.

Episode 5 – 9 Jan

Breaking into the corridors of power – The Parliamentary Archive

Mari Takayanagi, archivist, highlights the stories of suffragettes and suffragists, listen in to find out why Jeremy Corbyn was tiptoeing through parliament with an electric drill and how you get a banner through a metal grill!

You can find out more about the Parliamentary Archives here

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Episode 6 – 16 January

The Circus and the Fair are coming to town – The National Fairground and Circus Archive

An eye-opening look behind the scenes with Arantza Barrutia, National Fairground and Circus Archive Collections Manager, where we learn about social value of the fairground to further education of the 19th century poor, its role in promoting female boxing as a sport and the technological innovations it showcased (and played a role in developing).

You can find out more about the National Fairground and Circus Archive here

Episode 7 – 23 Jan

Not just Dennis the Menace – D C Thomson

David Powell, Archive Manager, talks iconic comics but also gives a rounder view of this long-established Dundee media company world famous for publishing the Beano and The People’s Friend, but less known for its range of local newspapers and magazines portfolio, and the teen read of a certain age of women: Jackie. David talks about how the archives serves the business and some of the exhibition projects with which he has been involved. The archive is not open to the public but researchers can send enquiries to

Episode 8 – 30 Jan

Friendship and social campaigning – an intriguing look into the lives of 19th Century students – Edge Hill University

Dan Copley (Archivist), Jack Bennett (Archive Intern) and Grace Marks (PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant) from Edge Hill University help us explore the student records and friendship books from the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century. These wonderful records from a time when the University was an all-women non-denominational teacher training college give a fascinating insight into the lives of the students. Jack’s research takes that forward to trace what happened to them next.

The friendship books have been digitised and you can find them all here

(rabbit-hole warning! They are fascinating and will suck you in!)

Episode 9 – 6 February

What’s in the Box? – Riverside Studios

Archivist Hope Fulton has just begun to explore and catalogue the over 300 boxes of archive material at Riverside Studios. In this episode we find out about the history of the Studios from TV and film with iconic programmes like Dr Who to stand out theatre performances from starts in the making.

You can find out more about Riverside Studios here

You can find out more about the archive here

Episode 10 – 13 Februrary

Below stairs at Blenheim Palace

An intriguing look at staff records at one of the grandest stately homes of England. Dr Alexa Frost, archivist at Blenheim Palace, talks us through the staff database project. A long term project unpicking the history of those who have worked at the palace and on the estate. Much of the archive at Blenheim is private but the staff database will eventually be a searchable resource for those with family links to Blenheim and its wider community – and for anyone with an interest in ‘below stairs’ social history.

If you have a family connection with Blenheim and want to find out more – or have old photos or documents to share please get in touch with

Episode 11 – 20 Feb Black Cultural Archives – Melba Wilson Papers

Please note that this podcast does contain some upsetting material concerning both racism and mental health.

Rhoda Boateng xxx at the Black Cultural Archives helps us explore the collection of papers of Melba Wilson which spans over 40 years of her work in national and regional mental health programmes, policy units and services, including grassroots and community activism alongside formal policy work and leadership.

You can find the collection details here

You can find out more about the Black Cultural Archives here

Search the lists below to find an event in your area. Can’t see one? Create one! Use the Submit your event button below to tell us what’s happening in your area. Remember to use the toolkit to promote your event.

Just as the social media campaign runs throughout the year, you can post events, webinars or exhibitions at any time. All events relating to archives and records are welcome. You can also find information about archive events in your area by clicking the links below,

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Archives Wales

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Digital Repository of Ireland


Under the Spotlight

Spotlight is an online exhibition place where archives, records managers or conservators can use the Explore Your Archive platforms to promote and focus on any aspect of their work or collections they’d like. Any service can provide content which will then be published on the exhibition pages for the world to see.

Our first spotlight is being shone on Pembrokeshire Archives, who have focused on how their records can be used to carry out both genealogical and house research. The examples used provide an exciting glimpse into just some of the stories that can be found by delving into the archive. Read on and be inspired to carry out your own research project. Let us know what you find!

If you would like to put your service in the spotlight use the form below to get in touch. We can’t wait to help tell your story.

Let’s get celebrating!