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Cataloguing UAL’s Institutional Memory Archive

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Published date 24 March 2017

Institutional records after cataloguing and repackaging

I am pleased to announce that the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre will soon be launching the public catalogue for the University’s Institutional Archive. At present the collection is available to browse in the ASCC, but researchers shortly will be able to use our online catalogue portal to search the collection under the reference code “UAL” and researchers will be able to request and access the records in the same way as the other collections we hold.

Over the past fifteen months I have been supervising an “Institutional Memory” project. The project’s initial aim was to discover, survey and assess various unarchived collections of documents, held within the University, which would help to tell its story. Prior to the beginning of this project, in October 2015, there had been no systematic collection of records created at an institutional level. Individual Colleges held their own archives, but there was very little available archive material that reflected the growth and development of UAL or its predecessor, The London Institute, since its formation in the mid-1980s. The Institutional Memory project has meant we can take a greater stock of what University records various departments already hold, and has also allowed us to fill in some of the missing gaps in its history.

I am now at the point where a proportion of the collections can be made available for researchers. Around thirty boxes of material have initially been catalogued, including records such as staff and student magazines, prospectuses, professorial platforms, estate plans and exhibition ephemera. We also hold audio-visual copies of oral history interviews that we have recorded, as part of a parallel programme to capture the memories of long-serving staff and key players in the institution’s formation. These records are only a small part of the material we hold – there will be an ongoing programme of cataloguing to ensure that access to the Institutional Archive continues to grow.

It is envisaged that the UAL Institutional Archive will be an ever-increasing resource where University departments can donate existing collections of records. It will also be a place of deposit for business records selected via departmental retention schedules. We are keen to locate further material held within individual departments – I have written a collection policy for the Institutional Archive which lists the criteria for records we wish to take in.

For anyone who holds material that they think may be of interest to us, or who wishes to conduct research into the UAL Institutional Archive, please do feel free to get in touch at


Robin Sampson

Institutional Memory Archivist

UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre

Photo Credit: Robin Sampson