1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Archives and Special Collections Curator?
I am Anne-Marie Purcell and I am the new Archives and Special Collections Curator. I am based in the archives reading room which is on the lower ground floor of the EWD building. I am part of a newly created Culture team which includes the art collections officer, Peggy Ainsworth, and the Head of Culture who starts next month. A central part of my role is to care for, make available and promote the historical archives of the University and special collections, including a series of rare books. The collections consist of the records of Royal Holloway College and Bedford College, and various interesting special collections such as the Half Moon Theatre Company and Roy Walters Theatre Collection. I have worked in archives since I graduated from Royal Holloway in 2006 having studied History, and it is good to be back.
2. As a fairly new colleague at our College, what are you enjoying most in your role so far?
I am enjoying meeting lots of new colleagues who are already familiar with the archive collections, so it is great to make connections and talk about past and future projects. There is a lot of interest in the archive and special collections which means I will be kept busy. I am enjoying discovering lots of interesting items within the collections, there’s something new (well, new to me) every day.
3. Are there any projects or initiatives which you are particularly looking forward to working on?
Getting the archive and special collections service open again is a big priority. I am looking forward to engaging students, colleagues and the wider community with the collections and the history of the College. It would be great to work with colleagues and students across a wide range of disciplines and unearth some interesting stories.
4. How can colleagues and students learn more about searching the archives and special collections?
The archive and special collections service has resumed appointments. Information on opening hours and appointment availability as well as a link to the archive online catalogue can be found on the archives webpage: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/about-us/the-library/our-archives/
Feel free to drop me a line at archivesrhul.ac.uk
5. How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
I have two children, aged six and nine, who occupy most of my free time, so I enjoy days out on the weekends to a park or a museum. And when I have an evening off, I enjoy going out to see a film, a show, or a concert.