by mattpArchives & Society Advocacy for the archive sector Marie Owens (Archives and Records Association) 8 May 2012
Marie Owens has a long standing knowledge of publicity, communications and PR related to libraries and archives. Owens strongly believes that the archive sector needs to speak out and explain more strongly what it is that it does. In this talk Owens discusses the changes over the last few decades in communications emphasis and the tools that are now available to do so. Owens talks about strategy but also advocacy. Advocacy, Owens argues, sits on top of good communication and is a call to action. Often made to influential people, advocacy allows institutions and professions to rehabilitate themselves or promote themselves in a particular light through ‘champions’ who will discuss and further their call. Owens notes the case of the new British Library off Euston road. In 1992 the work was behind schedule and popular opinion saw the venture as a failure. However, by its opening some five years later advocacy and a clear communication strategy had turn this opinion around and it is now a successful hub of scholarly work. Owens makes a case for the use of advocacy in the archives sector; what that might look like; and what they might want to say.