December 07, 2011

ARA Conference 2011 missed

I missed the conference this year (it's hard to justify training when your employer is firing people and the general mood at the office is low). From the reports of colleagues and friends, and the predictably favourable write up it got in the ARA magazine, it was a good event. I could probably have done with attending - I admit I have a problem with advocacy. Mainly, I just can't understand why everyone doesn't instantly grasp the importance of what we do and throw resources and money at us while simultaneously shaking our hands and buying us drinks. It's mind boggling. Clearly I live in a place far from reality.

When I look at the current frustrations in my job (or, from a different perspective, the frustrations in my current job), advocacy could help. How to convince other departments in the organisation that they should support the archival endeavour? Particularly when: a) the budget is tight and we do not tick any boxes in the company strategy (and I work in a library!); and b) I am low down the hierarchy of power and my voice is correspondingly heard only as a slight murmur on the breeze.

I like to moan as much as anyone. Perhaps more. I'm developing a pessimistic streak. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that this produces zero positive outcomes (unless I do the moaning over several pints of beer and count inebriation as an outcome). Perhaps the conference would have provided a space for me to moan, drink and be encouraged by fellow archivists and conservators. I am sorry I missed it.

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