By Guest Blogger, Aron Roberts
I started volunteering with Denbighshire Archives at the beginning of July, looking to gain some valuable work experience before undertaking a Masters in Archive Administration at Aberystwyth University this September. During my time here, I have been improving the catalogue for the Building Control Plans for Colwyn Bay by adding more detail to each item level description. Dating from 1890 to 1966, I have also assessed the condition of each plan so that adequate access conditions are in place to aid their preservation.
It was back in 2015 that the idea of becoming an Archivist first took root when, as a volunteer researcher for a project looking into the experiences of people with a learning disability at the North Wales Hospital, I was introduced to my local Archives here in Denbighshire.
The thrill of handling historical documents convinced me that a career in preserving, managing and facilitating access to the evidence contained within them was one I would find worthwhile.
Back then, however, the mere thought of returning to University to complete the accredited course (having only recently completed my Masters in Literary Studies) was enough to make me break out into a cold sweat, not to mention the fact that bills kept refusing to pay for themselves, and so life took me down a different path where I eventually found myself in the Countryside, working as a Trainee Ranger for the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Based in Llangollen, I would spend over a year and a half with a fantastic team spread over the County, dedicated to protecting and promoting the picturesque landscape Denbighshire has to offer. Leaving the role in June was one of life’s hard choices, but the time had come to make a decision about my future, such decisions, as I’m sure is true for us all, being heavily influenced by the past.
That, for me, is what makes working in an Archive so exciting, because, despite all appearances, Archives are places brimming with urgency, of truths waiting to be uncovered by people whose own futures can be shaped by what they find. This importance has only been stressed further upon me during my time volunteering, observing the members of staff here in the Denbighshire Archives serve as a gateway to the power that the past can hold in the present, latent until someone walks through the door and asks for it.
Thank you very much for having me,
“During his time with us Aron made a very positive impression on us all and we wish him well with his studies and his future career as an Archivist” – Denbighshire Archives.