Donald Macdougall And The Ladies In The Courtyard, Archive Assistant Trainee At The Argyll Papers, 2022, Credit Argyll Papers

The Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle

"I am delighted to be able to offer an archive trainee post in the Argyll Papers through Argyll Aspires. I am aware how difficult it is to gain experience in archives administration and grateful to be able to offer both practical experience and a professional learning opportunity through this project." Alsion Dimond, Archivist at the Papers

The Argyll Papers are the family and estate archives of the earls and dukes of Argyll, preserved at Inveraray Castle. The archive reflects 700 years of the family’s participation in Scottish, British and international events, their private lives and interests and the administration of their extensive estates in Argyllshire, including the islands of Tiree, Mull and Iona and the Lordship of Campbell (Clackmannanshire). This private archive is managed by Argyll Estates. Since 2011, the Duke of Argyll has employed an archivist to manage the collection and make it available to the public, with support from volunteers and a Friends group.

Donald MacDougall was the CHARTS Trainee, and Alison Diamond, Archivist at the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle, took on the day-to-day responsibility and onsite line management of Donald. The 14-month-long Argyll Papers Archive Assistant Traineeship was based at Inveraray Castle and included the opportunity to undertake study modules towards the Archival Studies PGCert with the Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS) at the University of Dundee.

Donald Macdougall, Archive Assistant Trainee At The Argyll Papers, 2022, Credit CHARTS

The traineeship included conservation and digitisation of the archive, curating and working on new exhibitions, hosting tours and talks for various groups, such as Dunoon Inner Wheel, and writing articles for the Friends of the Argyll Papers newsletter and website.

One outcome set as part of the traineeship was joining the ARA (Archives & Records Association) at Foundation level, which Donald achieved quickly. He also attended its annual conference in Belfast during the summer of 2023, and he has been networking through the Scottish Association of Country House Archivists, supported by Alison Diamond, Archivist at the Papers. Donald's traineeship was also featured as a case study in the Scottish Archives & Records Year in Review 2022-23.

CHARTS is delighted that Donald has also been kept on at the Archive and is now working 3 days a week with the papers plus one day on land management of the Inverary Estate. 

“The thing I love most about Argyll Aspires is its ambition the archive sector is extremely difficult to break into, with any paid opportunities few and far between. The fact that this traineeship is in Argyll is just fantastic and incredibly meaningful to me as someone who wants to continue living and working in the area. I also really appreciate being able to study for a postgraduate qualification at the same time. By combining on-the-job training in Inveraray with distance learning, I do feel as if I’m building some solid foundations for a career in archives.” Donald MacDougall

Argyll Aspires Report
Donald In The Archives(2)

In addition to Donald’s 14-month traineeship, the Argyll Papers were also able to host an additional trainee placement specially created for Rosanna Barraclough as a result of the recruitment process. Rosanna was based in Inveraray for one month and, during her placement, undertook archival research into Joseph Bonomi and his work for the 5th and 6th dukes building Rosneath House and the delivery of an online webinar about Roseneath House. Rosanna also talked about her emerging career and future plans as part of Scotland’s Creative Careers Week.

“It’s been a really amazing opportunity to further the aims of Argyll Aspires, learn more myself and to spread my knowledge and research...” Rosanna Barraclough