Level 5 student internships in Special Collections and Archives

LindaSophieAdamA new university-wide internship scheme has been put into place this year to provide undergraduate students with the vital experience they need to accelerate their careers. The scheme, which was set up by the World of Work Careers Centre in April, encouraged students to apply for one of a variety of internship roles where they could experience life in the workplace to help with their journey along the job market.

One of the internships was based here in the Special Collections and Archives department, where students could experience the job role of an archivist and work alongside the collections. After making it through a tough interview process, three level 5 students were granted the internships: History student Adam Hogan, History of Art student Linda Ann Brown, and Media, Culture and Communication student Sophie Cork.

The students were assigned to a different collection to worth with, a decision which was based on their previous experiences and interests; Sophie was chosen to work with the England’s Dreaming:  The Jon Savage Archive after studying it previously on her course, Linda was selected to work with the new Willy Russell Archive because of her love of theatre and the arts, whilst Adam’s passion for history lead him to help develop the Art School Archive.

Each student was given a set of different tasks to complete with their individual collection during their 20-day internship, such as re-boxing valuable archive material to scanning and digitising some of the artefacts. Adam had the difficult job of identifying pieces from the Art School Archive – many of which are without a name and date –in order to catalogue them, a job which had not been attempted before the internships began. Similarly, Sophie worked on re-boxing music magazines from the 1970s and 80s which staff in the department had not had time to do although it desperately needing doing. Digital support coordinator in the department Anne Foulkes appreciated an extra pair of hands to help digitising pieces from the Willy Russell collection, as she trained Linda to use the computer program so she was able to assist with her work.

Each intern gained valuable skills from working in the Special Collections and Archives department which will help with their future careers: from good time management, which was developed by each student being responsible for the timescale of their tasks, to interpersonal skills which were put to the test during the department’s open day, where the interns had to speak to visitors about the collections they had been working on and their time as an intern. The work that the interns did also benefitted the department as it helped to ease the workload of the Special Collections and Archives staff and improved the storage conditions of some of the precious materials held here.

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