Introducing Lauren, our new Archive Apprentice

A photo of the GWL LGBT Collections Store
A photo of the GWL LGBT Collections Store

It really is a powerful thing, to be working in a space that is dedicated to women’s lives and experiences. Already I feel at home, at ease, and I’ve only been here for a few weeks. The whole team at Glasgow Women’s Library, both staff and volunteers, are friendly, welcoming and remarkably dedicated to the amazing work they do. There are over 20 staff members and more than 60 volunteers, all of whom contribute to the library in a variety of ways. The opportunity to learn and grow, both professionally and personally, in a safe environment has been particularly lovely.

I’m working on the ‘Lesbian Lives: Unveiling Hidden Herstories’ project which we’ve recently announced. My job title is Archive Apprentice, which makes me sound quite magical and definitely reflects how I feel when going through the items held in our collections. It’s both a blessing and a privilege to be able to work closely with the Lesbian Archive. To know that there are records of the LGBTQ community, that we have existed and fought and survived, and will continue to do so for as long as necessary… It’s humbling. To be able to preserve and look after these objects that document the thoughts and feelings of lesbian, bi and queer women is an incredibly emotional experience for me that I still struggle to fully explain.

For the main part of my work I’ll be focusing on improving accessibility to our collections, as well as helping to deliver events that allow people to engage with and explore the materials held within them. I’m really excited about that, as community development and growth is a particular passion of mine and is a huge part of what drew me to the role. Making arts and culture more accessible, especially to those who feel unrepresented and intimidated by those spaces, is so important to me. It’s also rare to see archives and heritage positions that don’t require an expensive master’s degree only offered at a handful of universities across the country, something which is obviously not within reach for the majority of us. GWL are working to change that by offering this alternative path into the field and I’m thrilled to be a part of the process, especially as it involves working with such a culturally significant collection.

Alongside my main role here at GWL, I’m also looking forward to the chance to learn more about the organization as a whole. I hope to attend as many events as possible, allowing me to better understand how the team works together to deliver such an interesting and diverse programme here at the library and across Scotland. I hope to meet some of you soon!

If you have any questions about my work or the project in general, please get in touch! Leave a comment below, send an email or find me on twitter @laurenkarchives. I usually work Mondays to Fridays.


  • Posted 17th December, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi there,

    I’m interested in the role of an Archive Apprentice and what they do/potential career opportunities. Does this differ from the job of a graduate trainee archives assistant and does it offer qualifications? I’m interested to hear how GWL plan to make this another way of getting into the sector.


    • Posted 17th December, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
      Lauren Kelly

      Hi Katy, thanks for your comment. Could you email and we’ll get back to you in the new year? In the meantime, there’s lots of info online about archive apprenticeships and traineeships. Our apprenticeship is offered through Rewards Training Scotland.

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