Interview with Alison Kennedy from Manchester Archives

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What’s your name?
Alison Kennedy

And what you doing in the Historypin offices?!
I’m doing a Historypin Internship for a week

What’s been your best moment here?
When I found a surprising image whilst carrying out a research task. I was looking at online image archives of ex-commonwealth countries and came across one in Singapore, my family has a long association with Singapore and I decided to search the database for my family name not really expecting to find anything but lo and behold an image popped up of my Gran looking fresh faced at her engagement party. It was a fantastic image and it absolutely made my day, and hopefully one day soon it could be uploaded to Historypin!

Where are you currently working?
I am a trainee on the National Archives ‘Opening Up Archives’ programme. The programme’s primary goal is to diversify the archives profession by providing an entry route into the archive and heritage sector for those with non-traditional backgrounds.

There are 13 full-time one year workplace traineeships in a range of specialist areas at various host archives. I am based at the Manchester Archives and the main specialist area I am focusing on is community engagement. I come from an arts/media background and I have a particular interest in photography, films and online social networking.

How did you hear about Histroypin?
I had heard about Historypin through a colleague who had already contributed some images to the site. I have been working a lot with the images collection at the Manchester Archives and am always trying to find more ways to make the images more accessible, to as wide an audience as possible, after spending a lot of time on the Historypin website I soon discovered that it was a fantastic resource for me to be able to do this.

Why did you want to intern at Histroypin?
I decided that it would be of benefit to me to do a work placement at the Historypin offices in London as it fitted in with my training plan and I wanted to know more about the process they go through in order to promote what they do to colleagues and other archives as well as getting a chance to show off some of the fantastic images we hold at the Manchester Archives to a large new audience. I wanted to share ideas as essentially our aims are the same- to ‘open up archives’.

What did you do in your internship?
During my week at Historypin I gained a wider understanding of their uploading process and how the website works as a whole, I learnt some useful tips when it comes to searching for a location and geotagging images.

It was really useful for me to attend a presentation done by Historypin’s CEO Nick as I saw how important it is to get out there and promote the site on a personal level and how the marketing and promotion side of Historypin has really made an impact and is working. It was also interesting to find out what other archives and similar organisations think of the project, the questions they have, the common issues that come up and the way Historypin can help them.

It was great to be able to discuss online outreach and sharing ideas of how best to utilise social networking sites. Discussing outreach work was useful and will hopefully lead to future partnerships such as facilitating a project like Magic Me in Manchester and the documents given to me by Freddie (one of the Histroypin team) will be particularly valuable when I come to do this.

It was very exciting to hear about the future plans of Historypin’s development and inevitable global domination which will give archives an even greater platform to show off their fantastic and often hidden collections.