The importance of having a vision
A vision statement makes it clear what your organisation’s intentions are for your archive and collections. These intentions can be modest (e.g. make documents with evidential value easily findable) or very ambitious (e.g. organise the archive as a source for research and artistic reuse). Whatever you want to achieve with your archive and/or collections, it’s important that you take the time to consider your vision and write it down.
Your archive and/or collections consist of administrative and business documents (contracts, grant applications, invoices...), creative documents and items (sketches, models, photos...) and compilations (books, magazines, costumes...) that are produced as you perform your work activities. Good management starts with the intention to keep archives and collections in a good, well-organised and accessible condition. This also means your documents do not lose their reliability, authenticity, integrity and usability.
As a person or organisation under private law, with the exception of a number of legal obligations that need to be taken into into account, you largely determine the composition and value of your archive and collections yourself. Organisations that are structurally funded within the Arts Act must be responsible for their archive. It is course in everyone’s interest to be as well-informed as possible when managing their archive and/or collections. It makes the structure of your organisation more transparent, and you can find documents and objects more easily and show external parties what you have.
You can then use your written-down vision as a basis for setting your objectives and determining what you need to do to achieve them. These goals and actions are included in the policy and action plans. You can then work on these actions if you’ve allocated a (small) amount to archive and collection care in your annual budget.
The most important thing to do is to make concrete agreements with employees, so it’s clear for everyone what the intentions for the archive and collection are, where people can find the necessary documents and objects, and how you have to deal with them. Allocating responsibilities also helps with good archive and collection care.