The Archive Service Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery and, according to the service, “demonstrates that the Design Archives has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users”.
The Design Archives, housed at the university’s City Campus in Grand Parade, holds what is considered the most significant body of material relating to post-war design organisations in any British university, alongside the archives of designers whose work these organisations championed. The Design Archives has been producing and supporting innovative, collection-driven research, teaching and public engagement activities since 1996.
The award was announced today (31 March) by The National Archives which provides a leadership role for the archive sector and works to secure the future of physical and digital records.
Sue Breakell, Archive Leader, said: “Achieving accreditation has long been an ambition for the Design Archives and we are delighted to have reached this goal. The process has supported the reflexive development of our stewardship activities and underlines our position at the heart of the university’s research offer, making a highly distinctive contribution that bridges professional practice and scholarship.”
Professor Debra Humphris, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is tremendous news and richly-deserved recognition for the Design Archives team who have worked incredibly hard to make the Archives both nationally and internationally renowned, and for the academic and professional colleagues who work with them. On behalf of the entire University community I’d like to congratulate and thank them all.”
Sue Breakell said: “As well as attracting researchers from around the world, the Design Archives curates a dynamic programme linking content, enquiry and practice, a cornerstone of the university’s strategy. Following the Misha Black Award in 2018, this is a further significant achievement for us and is recognition of the significance not only of our collections but of the team’s innovative approach.”
The Archive Service Accreditation Panel described the Design Archives as an “impressive service”, adding: “The Design Archives has collections of national and international importance which are accommodated in a good new suite of archives rooms curated by a professional team. The service promotes its collections enthusiastically and with imagination. The commitment to outreach, through a wide range of exhibitions, loans and other means, is admirable and ensures that the holdings can be seen by an audience well beyond the university and indeed the UK.
“The place of the Design Archives within the university offers a model that other specialist archives within the higher education sector might find useful. It is well embedded within the university’s research and teaching, described by senior managers as a ‘jewel in the crown’.”