On January 21 2013 the cross campus University Archives and Records Management Committee (UARMAC) had its first meeting in the UWI Regional Headquarters building where the University Archives is situated. The occasion was doubly significant in that it was also the first time the Committee was meeting under its revised policy which had been approved by the University Finance & General Purposes Committee in October 2013.The Archives decided that this significant event should not go unnoticed so it organized three events to commemorate the occasion.
A ceremony to mark the establishment of the University Archives in its permanent home.
This was held in the Archives’ spacious Reading Room immediately after the meeting on January 21 2013. It was attended by senior university officials including the Vice Chancellor, the University Registrar, University Bursar, the University Librarian and the Chairman and members of the UARMAC. Also in attendance was Mrs Gloria Barrett-Sobers, University Registrar 1997 – 2007 and members of the family of the late Elizabeth Williams, who served as University Archivist, 2002 – 2007.
The University Archivist, Mr John Aarons explained that although the building had been blest and officially opened in June 2012, he had felt that the establishment of the Archives in a purpose built facility after fifteen (15) years in temporary accommodation, was worthy of a celebration.
The highlight of the Ceremony was the unveiling of a plaque naming the Reading Room in memory of the late Elizabeth Williams, the first West Indian University Archivist who died in June 2007. She had worked hard for a purpose built archival facility and had died before her dream was realized. The plaque was unveiled by her sister Miss Grace Williams and the Vice Chancellor, Professor E Nigel Harris.
The event was an emotionally filled one for many persons including members of Elizabeth’s family and colleagues who recalled her tireless advocacy for improved facilities for the storage of University records. (See link: images of establishment ceremony)
Presentation on Archival development in the Caribbean region with emphasis on the role of the University of the West Indies
The Archives felt that the first public event it hosted in its new home should reflect on the University’s involvement, chiefly through the Department of History, in the archives of the region dating back to 1948, and the role it should continue to play and this was endorsed by the UARMAC.
This function was held in the newly named ‘The Elizabeth Williams Reading Room’ on January 22, 2012 and attracted an attendance of over sixty (60) persons. It was literally standing room only! Presentations were made by Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding, Senior Assistant Registrar, Archives & Records), Cave Hill, UWI and Dr Stanley Griffin, Assistant Archivist, University Archives, UWI on archival development in the region.
A special feature of the function was the reading of a Citation to Professor Emeritus Sir Roy Augier, former Pro Vice Chancellor and long serving member of the Department of History at the University of the West Indies. He was honoured for his contribution to archival development in the region and in particular for his involvement in the regional survey records in the 1950’s and in the organization of the 1965 Caribbean Archives Conference, held in Jamaica. The Citation was read by Dr Kusha Haraksingh, the chair of UARMAC on behalf of the Committee. (See link: Archival Presentation)
Annual General Meeting of the Archives & Records Management (RAM) Section of the Library & Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA)
This meeting was held on Wednesday January 23, 2013 and was chaired by Dr Stanley Griffin, the Chair of RAM. Prior to the meeting, members toured the University Museum & University Archives. This was followed by a panel discussion on the role of museums and archives in an institution. The panellists were Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown, Curator of the UWI Museum and Mr John Aarons, University Archivist and the discussion was moderated by Mrs Celia Stephens, the Records Manager at the Port Authority and the Vice Chair of RAM. (See link: LIAJA-RAM Visit)