How long have you been working at PROV?
I've worked at PROV since 1985.
What is your role at PROV?
I am part of the Collections Management team but report directly to the Assistant Director Access Services. My role is primarily focused upon the strategic management of the PROV collection but also includes responsibility for some specific areas. The task also involves providing advice to PROV staff and external stakeholders about the content of the collection, current and past collection management practices and conceiving, undertaking or collaborating on complex archival projects within the collection.
How did you get into your current role?
I've basically evolved into this role as a result of my experience over the years having worked with many parts of the collection in a number of different contexts. Like a number of the current PROV staff, I started on a temporary basis and was subsequently successful in applying for a permanent position.
Why did you want to work at PROV?
This was something I wanted to do ever since I was exposed to archives and PROV during an archival subject I completed whilst studying Australian history at university.
From when you arrive at the Victorian Archives Centre in the morning until you leave in the evening, what does a typical day look like?
I try to follow a routine but with a collection consisting of 102 shelf km that is used every day by Government, researchers and PROV staff, you can never confidently predict everything that might emerge during a day.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
It is knowing your work will benefit the people in Victoria to discover things about either themselves, their rights and entitlements, the history of this state or their local community now and in the future.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
I'm not sure I have a specific project that stands out, although the PROV's 30th Anniversary project during 2003 in which I collaborated with Professor E.W "Bill" Russell to help produce A Matter of Record: A History of Public Record Office Victoria and the first two editions of the PROV historical journal Provenance comes closest. Ultimately nothing beats the experience of working with the collection and contributing to the work to make it accessible to the wider public.
What is the most important skill in your role?
It is the knowledge I've been able to build up about our collection and the records within it and the ability to disseminate this through our finding aids, guides, publications, presentations, etc.
What advice would you give to someone entering the field? What type of background would be most helpful?
Given that we are living in a society generally and working in an specialised area that has and will continue to be subject to major change, and keeping in mind the sheer range of activities covered by the Victorian State public sector, you must be prepared to deal with enormous change of focus, sometimes even within the same day. Innovative thinking and the ability to work collaboratively or individually as required are a must. Having a background in Australian, Victorian or public history will assist in some positions but, from what I've observed over the years, everyone here has been able to add value to their work from their own educational history, prior work experience and general knowledge.