Tag Archives: volunteers

Hush-hush no more

The award itself

The award itself

Now when there was a press release and everything, I no longer have to keep quiet. Do you remember the big thing we were all preparing for? Well, now I can tell you that we won an award for all our volunteering work from Archives and Records Association. And it is actually a national thing- the Archive Volunteering Award. The judges were unanimous and were very impressed that we did so much with so little.
There was the award presenting ceremony in our archives, that’s why we all worked so hard. That evening the room was full of big wigs: we had three people from ARA presenting the award, guests from the Plymouth’s Volunteer Centre and other outside organizations, various people from different Marjon’s departments and even out vice-chancellor. We wanted to show our guest all the projects we made and when it was put all in one room it was a lot. When you work week-to-week on your part of the project, helping other volunteers with one thing or another, you really miss the scope of the whole undertaking. You think about your project as that small thing that you do for the reasons of your own and don’t give it a second thought. But the world is watching and then you realize: whatever you do has an impact.
But don’t take my word for all of it. Check it out for yourself:


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101th Thing You Wouldn’t Expect to Be Doing in Archives


Arts and crafts is a skill useful for a Marjon archives’ volunteer

I have written on many occasions that we’re not the normal, run-of-the-mill, dusty and dark archives. Ok, we have plenty of dust and I could get a dark corner or two if I had to. But with the people we have contributing we’re nothing like some archives I know (I’m looking at you University of the Capital of Devon!). And the 101th thing you wouldn’t expect to be doing in the archives is…flattening bottlecaps. And before you start calling mental health crisis team on us, let me explain. Soon we will have a major action that combines recycling with the Remembrance Day (I bet you never expected to hear those two words in one sentence:-)). Operation Poppyfield is an action that aims to build a poppy field from discarded bottlecaps in honour of the students that gave their lives in the wars. The bottlecaps need to be flattered, painted red and mounted on a stick to make a recycled poppy. We have issued a challenge to residence halls to collect as many bottlecaps as possible. *shameless braging alert* And if you’ll be on campus anytime soon, keep an eye out for the flyers advertising the action. They were designed by yours truly. *end of shameless bragging* We need over 1000 bottlecaps to make the field happen and let me tell you, that’s A LOT of flattening.

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I haven’t written a lot recently and today I fear I don’t have another story from the archives. The reason is: there will be a huge event in the near future. I can’t say anything specific just yet. Everything is still on hush-hush basis and waiting for the big reveal. Everybody is running like ants after a storm in preparation for it. How big is it? Well it’s big, national level big. We are all pulling together to showcase our work the best we can. We have our hands busy by choosing, printing, planning and displaying. I hope that this event will make us a little bit more visible. We have worked
hard for the past year and we want others to see the fruits of our labours.

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Our Valuable Volunteers and their Various Ventures: Alasdair

Photo0230Meet Alasdair, the archive wizard with mad skills. He is a man of patience and attention to detail, but most of all, he has something that none of our motley crew has: a real life archive job experience. He used to work for a record office and enjoyed it greatly. He even got himself into Masters programme in Archiving, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.

He said that he chose Marjon archives for the scope and variety of the collection. ‘There is so much learn and I enjoy learning’- that’s something we all feel.

Right now he is working with the official documents concerning the move that Marjon made from London to Plymouth. The timeframe for those is the 70’s and 80’s. I have seen the scope of the work that lies ahead of Alasdair and I can say that he have his work cut out for him. Right now he is extremely busy with cataloguing and arranging them in order, so they can easily be accessed when needed. This is going to take some time, that’s why Alasdair has no definite plans for his next project. However, there is a possibility that he will work with the digitization of the archives, because of his computing experience.

Alasdair appearance is good news, because If there is one thing we have, it’s the abundance of old dusty papers. And now we have somebody who knows what order they should go and is not afraid of dust mites:-)

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Our Valuable Volunteers and Their Various Ventures: Mark and Richard

Our archives are a place where many volunteers pursue their projects and passions. As a recurring feature of this blog I will write about those people and their work, so that everybody can meet the people who invest their time and energy here.

Last Thursday I have met my first two volunteers, Mark and Richard. Those two lovely guys are working on a parallel projects involving photography, both in the archives and around the campus. They both came to us guided by the Plymouth’s Volunteer Centre.


Mark on the left, Richard on the right

In the late morning we had a short walk towards the less visited parts of our campus, with Gillian being our guide. We went down the road towards the chaplain’s house and the pond behind it. There is a small wooded area that was of interest to them and also the future site of a new orchard has been planted recently (I can’t wait for the first ‘apple day’!’. I followed them as they worked taking pictures of this little travelled spot.


Their projects are related but separate. Mark’s project is called ‘Seeing Marjon in Another Light’. His work includes the pictures of those features of Marjon that are often passed unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of the campus life, the exquisite beauty of the flowers, trees and wildlife. He uses computer graphics to enhance his photos, saturating them with lively, impressionist colours. For Mark, working with the photography is his refugee from anxiety and depression and a way of coping with day-to-day challenges. ‘Looking through the lens brings me a new perspective’ He said.

Richard’s project is called ‘Impressions of Marjon’. His work involves searching archives for old pictures of places around Marjon. When he finds a suitable one, he tries to take a picture in the same spot and make a comparison with the old one. This way one can see clearly how the time affected the place. The slow progress of time becomes so obvious this way and makes the viewer aware of the passing seasons.

I am glad that I have met them as it is always uplifting to see people making time and effort to pursue their passions. I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of their work.

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