May 27, 2020, by abrierley
Chloé Havez – Manuscripts and Special Collections Archival Assistant Internship
by Chloé Havez – student studying within the School of Politics and International Relations
During my second semester of third year I applied to undertake an Archival Assistant placement with the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts & Special Collections department. The role involved specifically conducting archival research into the work of Ken Coates, a socialist politician and sociologist who himself studied at the University of Nottingham in 1956.
I was made aware of this placement opportunity when looking at the Politics and International Relations ‘Community Page’ on Moodle. I was seeking opportunities which would development my research skills as I was applying for a Masters, and an opportunity to have experience as an Archival Assistant would enable me to achieve this goal.
The application process started in November 2019 and consisted of filling out an application outlining why I believed that I was the right candidate for the role and discussing how I would apply my previously acquired skills to the research task. Next, I was informed that I had successfully been chosen for an interview, which was carried out on the University’s King’s Meadow Campus.
I was then told that I had been successful in my application, and Manuscripts & Special Collections allowed me to freely choose what topic interested me has meant that I have gained a deeper understanding of a topic I am passionate about – most notably environmental degradation
I was tasked with categorising and documenting archival material and putting this information into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets so this data could be easily accessible to future researchers interested in Ken Coates’ work. I believe that this placement has helped to improve my transferable skill set, most notably time management and my research skills. By gaining training on how to correctly handle, preserve and categorise archival documents this has made me more confident in carrying out primary source research, which has proved helpful for my assignments and dissertation.
I would definitely recommend this placement to future applicants as the Manuscripts and Special Collections department were supportive throughout the internship process. This experience was a great opportunity to come into contact with a different side to the university which undergraduate students rarely come across, and to make a direct contribution to the research aspect of the institution. I also hold that the skills I have developed will undoubtedly have aided my academic journey and will help me to achieve my future career aspirations.
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