01 August 2016

Archive of people power comes to Essex

Archive of Participation event

Professor Peter Beresford and the team starting to sort the archive material.

Nearly 40 years of archive material relating to numerous campaigns and schemes to involve the general public is to have a new home at the University’s Albert Sloman Library.

The Archive of Participation, which began in 1977, includes a wide range of material relating to participation, user and citizen involvement in political and policy process, services and communities.

It has been compiled by the University’s Professor of Citizen Participation Peter Beresford and Suzy Croft, who both took part in a special workshop organised by Dr Wendy Bryant from the School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) to look at the benefits of the Archive.

The Archive could be a valuable resource for researchers, activists and students, and the workshop was a chance to begin sorting the material and discuss the various ways of making it accessible. Among the boxes of files are letters, photos, notes, meeting minutes and newsletters and are valuable, historical records of nearly 40 years of participation in the UK.

Professor Beresford is currently working with academics at HHS to develop the School’s research capacity and build on the University’s expertise in user involvement and participatory research.

Professor Beresford said: “The University with its motto of ‘rebels with a cause’ is the perfect home for establishing a unique archive of people’s efforts to be involved in making a better society.”

Dr Bryant added: “Sorting the materials together was a fascinating and engaging experience. We were all keen to take the work further so I’m looking forward to setting up more opportunities in the near future.”

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