Using History, Valuing Archives

21 02 2019

Using History, Valuing Archives

Henley Business School, University of Reading, 28 Feb-1 March 2019

Workshop overview

The tendency to view history as a malleable strategic resource that can support wider corporate goals may be on the rise, but what does this mean for business archives themselves, the archivists who work in them, and the academic researchers who rely on them? What are the implications of viewing history (and historical collections) as a strategic resource for the way in which archives are valued (and maintained)? Does it affect the types of materials that are likely to be preserved (or discarded)? Will it affect corporate policies regarding access to, and use of, historical records by non-company personnel – such as academic researchers?

This workshop brings together professional business archivists and historians to explore these questions. What does the future hold for the way in which companies use their past? If the strategic value of business archives is indeed to be increasingly recognised and utilised, what does this mean for the practices of archivists and historians, and for the conception of a business archive as a quasi-public resource?


Workshop Programme

                Thursday 28 Feb               Location: Whiteknights Campus, Cedars, Seminar Room 1

10.30 – 11.00      Arrival and Welcome


11.00 – 12.45      Uses of History

                Chair     Peter Miskell (University of Reading)

Laurence Mussio (SIERC)

The Managerial Mind and Institutional Memory: Creating a Long-Run Future


Gabriela Recio (Independent scholar and historical consultant)

Acting as a historical consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs in Mexico: a personal perspective


Michael Aldous (Queens University, Belfast)

Using and valuing business history in India: the experience of working with the Indian Chamber of Commerce


Alix Green (University of Essex)

Reframing the historian-archivist relationship: the potential for co-designed research projects


12.45 – 13.45      Lunch


13.45 – 15.30      Managing Historical Resources

                Chair     Mike Anson (Bank of England)

Jeannette Strickland (University of Liverpool)

Organisation and governance of business archives: an overview


Gavin McGuffie (The Postal Museum)

Business archives within museums: the Royal Mail Archive and the Postal Museum


Richard Wiltshire (London Metropolitan Archives, City of London; Business Archives Council)

Business archive deposits: assessing collections and seeking funding from depositors


Benito Peix Geldart (Swedish Centre for Business History)

Helping firms use history and outsource archives: the experience and practices of the Swedish Centre for Business History



15.30 – 16.00      Tea / Coffee



16.00 – 17.30      Archives and their users

                Chair     Andrew Smith (University of Liverpool)


Mike Anson (Bank of England)

Managing internal and external access to the Bank of England Archive


Claire Tunstall (Unilever)

Audience evaluation of Unilever’s Archives and Records Management


Peter Scott (University of Reading)

What happens to archives when firms disappear?


Dinner booked for 19.45 at London St Brasserie, Reading



                Friday 1 March                  Location: Museum of English Rural Life

9.00 – 10.45        The search for value in archives

                Chair     Laurence Mussio (SIERC)

Stephanie Decker (Aston University) and Alan McKinlay (Newcastle University)

Archival Ethnography


Andrew Smith, Ian Jones (Liverpool), Neveen Abdelrehim (Newcastle), Steve Toms (Leeds)

Seeing the Moat: Why Accountants Need to Recognize the Value of Corporate Archives


Alistair Smith (EY)

Utilising archives as a corporate resource: the case of Barclays


Guy Baxter (University of Reading)

Reflections on the value of archival resources at the University of Reading


10.45 – 11.15      Tea / Coffee



11.15 – 12.15      Utilising the value of archives

                Chair     Lucy Newton (University of Reading)

Anne Archer, David Hay (BT)

Business Archives and Academic Partnerships: a BT Archives case study


Sara Kinsey (Nationwide)

Creating and utilising a corporate archive: the case of Nationwide


12.15 – 13.00      Round table and open discussion

                Chair     Peter Miskell (University of Reading)

Mike Anson

Laurence Mussio

Michael Aldous

Andrew Smith


13.00 – 13.45      Lunch and close



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