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Launch of Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice

Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice

Last Friday May 24 saw the first meeting of the Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice. This practice acknowledges the potential of archival records to traumatize individuals, including the subjects of records and the archivists who are working with them. The Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice developed from an online workshop funded by the Heritage Council that was organized in May 2023 by Lisa Shortall, then a staff member in the School of History, UCD. This workshop was delivered by Kirsten Wright and Nicola Laurent on behalf of the Australian Society for Archivists. Wright and Laurent have been at the heart of international efforts to recognize the need for trauma informed approaches to archival work. These approaches are closely connected to the idea of person-centred archival practice, which puts the person, rather than the record, at the heart of the archival endeavour.

The committee formed after the workshop, whose members have been working in a personal capacity over the past year to develop the Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice, includes individuals employed in national archives, local authority archives, religious organizations, semi-state bodies, universities, funding bodies and archival education. The community seeks to promote the use of trauma informed and person- centred approaches to archival work through the holding of online meetings and the development of a website, (opens in a new window)www.ictiap.ie, which was also launched last week.  The website currently contains introductory information and links related to secondary trauma and the theory behind trauma informed practice and will be added to as the community evolves.

Irish Community for Trauma Informed Archival Practice image 3In addition to the website launch, the meeting last week, which was attended by nearly 50 archivists across the island of Ireland, also included a brief introduction to the committee members, an overview of the nature of trauma informed approaches by Lisa Shortall and a presentation by Lorraine McLoughlin from Dublin City Library and Archives about the ways trauma informed approaches could be applied in a local authority archives setting. Future meetings will focus on the application of trauma informed approaches to different aspects of archival work such as dealing with donors, describing and providing access to records. For further information see (opens in a new window)www.ictiap.ie.