RLUK and The National Archives (TNA) are pleased to announce the Fellows for the Professional Fellowship Scheme 2024-25. After a very competitive application round and given the excellent quality of proposals, the scheme’s Board decided to award five Professional Fellowships for 2024-2025. The successful candidates will commence the work on their proposed projects from February 2024.

Professional Fellowships last for a year to 18 months and are structured around short-term visits to TNA, for RLUK Fellows, and RLUK member institutions, for TNA Fellows, underpinned by a longer period of peer-to-peer mentoring and knowledge sharing. Professional Fellowships focus on a professional-practice question, contribute to a wider piece of work, and facilitate shared learning between TNA and individual RLUK members with the purpose of overcoming some of the collective challenges facing research and cultural organisations.

Below are the Fellows for 2024-25 and details on their projects. The projects investigate pressing issues around the accessibility and preservation of library and archival collections; the importance of articulating the cultural value of collections; the wellbeing of staff when engaging with challenging records; the needs of neurodivergent employees in the library and archival working environment; as well as the role of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) in fostering collaboration and co-learning.

2024-25 Fellows

Ailie O’Hagan, Digital Preservation Officer, Queen’s University Belfast 

Project: Accessible Preservation: developing an inclusive strategy for management and preservation of access quality born-digital assets

Ailie’s project seeks to define the practical decisions necessary to facilitate inclusive preservation of born-digital assets. It aims to investigate ways to optimise access-quality files to generate more robust preservation copies and create a records management strategy for these.

Host Institution: The National Archives

Sarah Wood, Assistant Archivist, Special Collections, Library and Learning Services, University of Leicester

Project: How can archive services support the wellbeing of staff working with challenging records appearing unexpectedly in collections?

Sarah’s project will focus on the application of emerging practice to instances where vicarious or generational trauma results from routine or day-to-day work with seemingly innocuous collections. Her project will evaluate how individuals working in archives and libraries across the sector are currently supported by their organisation and offer recommendations for improvement and change.

Host Institution: The National Archives

Bernard Ogden, Research Software Engineer, The National Archives

Project: Collaborative Experimentation: Research Software Prototyping for Co-Learning and Exploration in Cultural Heritage

Bernard’s project contributes to current conversations around the role of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) by investigating RSE-led prototyping as a method of interdisciplinary collaboration and co-learning in digital cultural heritage.

Host Institution: Wellcome Collection

Philippa Turner, Sector Development Manager, London and Business (Archive Sector Leadership), The National Archives

Project: Assessing and Articulating the Cultural Value of Archives and Archives as Culture

Philippa’s project will investigate how archive services can more effectively assess and articulate their cultural value and archives as ‘culture’.

Host institution: University of Leeds

Tom Radley, Document Services Manager, The National Archives

Project: Neurodiversity and Document Storage

Tom’s project explores the needs of Neurodiverse people and the risks and issues they face in the archival and library working environment.

Host Institution: The National Library of Scotland