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‘Explore Your Archive’ Week, 20th -28th November 2021

EYA Coordinator Rosie joins us on the blog to introduce 2021’s Explore Your Archive Week and explain how you can get involved!


As many of you will already know, EYA had a bit of a shake up in January, with twelve new volunteers joining the team. As a new volunteer myself, I have been blown away by the interaction with our monthly hashtags. Posts relating to February’s ‘Nature’ made me want to move back to the countryside, while July’s ‘An Archival Mystery’ themed posts made me want to get out my deerstalker hat and pipe and started solving riddles!

The highlight of the year for us is always EYA week, which this year will fall between November 20th to 28th. EYA week consists of nine daily themes for you all to interact with, rather than one monthly theme. This year we have tried to pair them up as much as possible to present some opposing or juxtaposed items, practices, and ideas. So, without further ado, here are this year’s themes!


We open the week on Saturday November 20th with an uncomplicated theme: ‘Small.’ You could show a small item, collection, group – anything you like so long as it’s small! The following day is the direct opposite. The Sunday theme is ‘Big.’ These are two simple themes to kickstart the week, but hopefully they will allow you to demonstrate something of the array of items within your collection and the challenges this can present.


Monday and Tuesday’s themes are the ones I personally am most excited about. On Monday we will be looking at ‘Handwriting.’ This is an opportunity to show off the most beautiful or illegible handwriting in your collections. Perhaps you could release a palaeographic challenge for your social media followers to try and decipher, or challenge them to recreate a particularly detailed initial letter. Monday’s focus on handwriting and analogue collections is directly contrasted by Tuesday’s theme: ‘Going Digital.’ Digital archives are often inadvertently neglected on social media, so this is an opportunity to show off your most modern collections. Alternatively, you could take the theme literally and demonstrate digitisation work that is currently happening within your organisation. Either way, it’s a good chance to tell the world about the joys and challenges that new technology brings.


‘Archive Shelfie,’ an old favourite, makes its return on Wednesday. Here at EYA we love seeing photos of you with your collections, or demonstrating the work you do on a daily basis. As these ‘shelfies’ are often solo efforts, Thursday’s theme focuses on ‘Collaboration.’ Even in the smallest organisations, there is often collaboration going on between departments, organisations, or with volunteers. We hope that this Thursday theme gives you a chance to make a shout out to all those you work closely with, and to make your followers more aware of on-going projects or volunteer opportunities.


Friday is our only stand-alone theme, and again it’s an old favourite: “Conservation Nightmare.” This can be analogue or digital, but we hope you will show us something to surprise us and remind us how very difficult conservation can be.


The second Saturday in EYA week is a chance to celebrate. The theme of ‘Achievements’ will allow you to toot your own horns and show off the work you have done over the last year or two. I know I am excited to see what projects have been completed and achievements have been reached during this difficult year. However, if Saturday is about looking to the past, Sunday’s theme looks to the future. ‘Watch This Space’ is an opportunity to share with the world what you have got planned for the coming year. Do you have any exciting announcements to make? Or a new goal that you hope to achieve? Either way, this is a chance to show off about what you have coming up in the future, as we bring EYA week to a close.


As ever, we hope you will be as imaginative as possible with these themes. While we often have an idea of the sort of posts we expect, we love to be surprised by the ingenuity of your posts and the different directions in which you take the themes. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

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