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Melinda Haunton

PhD History (2000)


The National Archives (TNA) is the UK government’s official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. It gives detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management and advise others about the care of historical archives. Melinda is the Programme Manager for Accreditation of Archive Services.

"I knew that my research would involve very extensive work among government records, and that moving nearer my key sources would be helpful, so I was considering various options within the University of London. In the end, I liked the atmosphere of Royal Holloway most. I also found a PhD supervisor who understood what I wanted to do and why – that’s critical for doctoral study to succeed.

"I worked with some great colleagues and enjoyedmeeting many fellow postgrads. I also enjoyed thelinks to wider London history institutions, especially the Institute of Historical Research. The faculty was very strong, and I knew people being tutored by Amanda Vickery, for example, which gave me an insight into very different types of research from my quite traditional political focus.

"I absolutely use the skills developed while at Royal Holloway. Being able to work alone andnot get discouraged, to research and analyse,to synthesise a response, to write lucidly aboutcomplex subjects – they are all very transferable skills. I also sometimes get to deal with records enquiries which relate to my research, and the background of historical understanding is always useful.

"Working in the archives sector is all about people, and increasingly about being able to work with a whole range of technology. My advice would be to, by all means. bring a love of history to the collections you work with, but please never think of a typical archivist as someone who sits in a corner reading medieval documents and not speaking to anyone! In archives, you can work with anyone from schoolchildren to socially excluded groups to TV producers to academic historians. You may be at the cutting edge of digital preservation research, or you may be running reminiscence therapy sessions for elderly people, and having a profound impact on their quality of life. Working to make archives accessible means following a huge range of options and might be via any format from xml to drama workshops!"


     Melinda Haunton 

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