I have, rather blatantly, cadged the title for this from the very lovely Jessica Meyer, for which I hope she’ll forgive me. The product will probably be more useful for me than for you, but ho hum. 2014 has been a tough year personally, and it has, inevitably, affected all aspects of my life. I am very ready for 2015 though I am already wary that the issues which tainted 2014 have already infiltrated into a year which has not even begun as I write this. Still, my out of office is set and I am away from my desk for a fortnight.
This year has twisted and turned in ways I could not have foreseen. Receiving the wrong box one miserable day in March was a notable turning point. For reference, I am by background a medievalist. Albeit not a terribly good one. I am not a natural academic, and although I liked my subject, I can reflect a decade on that it was probably not my forte. I did learn conviction for my subject however. Nothing schools you in defending your field of study like Gordon Brown announcing on the Today Programme that medieval history is a waste of time and effort on the very morning you receive your A-level results, which allow you to read medieval history…
My masters degree, on the other hand, was the making of me. I found my niche in Aberystwyth, and it was ace.
I’ve digressed. 2013 was a turning point in my research in the sense that I actually started to do some research again. Six months at home with my daughter made me realise that I needed to get in touch with what I loved most about my work. The records. I was awarded a Clore Fellowship in 2010, and one of the numerous things which came out of that was my very clear articulation that I had a bottom line, a very clear motivation for my work which is as follows:
I want archives to matter more, to more people.
On reflection, I’ve managed this much better in 2014 than perhaps I had previously. From individual conversations which led to significant deposit of long-overdue records, to blog posts to other things of which I cannot yet speak, the records have been at the centre of every working day this year. They matter. And I am in a position to make them matter to more people. I have a responsibility to make them matter to more people. Roll on January, February and March. Out of this year has also come research avenues beyond measure, the beginnings of what will eventually (I hope!) become a PhD, and a number of opportunities to work with lovely people on exciting projects with tangible results. Strangers, albeit names on a Twitter feed, have become good friends. Recurrent threads in conversation have turned into professional networks which challenge and enthral me in equal measure. So, right now, there are lists. Lists of lists. Lists in every notebook I own. Lists in my head. Lists which allegedly I talk about in my sleep. But it’s exciting. I am optimistic for what 2015 may bring. What’s next?