PLANNED ENVIRONMENT THERAPY TRUST

ARCHIVE AND STUDY CENTRE

Archivist and Director’s Report to the Trust

for the Meeting of 4 March 2003

Covering the period November 1, 2002– February 28,2003

 

Preamble

 

In the conclusion to "A Document to Help With Discussion on the Future Development of the Archive and Study Centre", which I presented to the Trust in August 1995, I argued that "some form of positive action is needed to ensure that the work of the Centre does not begin progressively to regress. Without more people, in particular, we will be like a small business which has succeeded beyond its capacity to sustain success, the demand for what it offers choking the capacity to meet it." At the time I suggested "that four to six people could be employed immediately simply to fulfill the promise of the diverse tasks of the current archivist…"

 

Since then a great deal has happened, not least five years of more or less continuous construction, two and a half years in which we had the services of a full-time qualified assistant archivist, the opening to business of the Conference Centre, and taking on Administration for the Association of Therapeutic Communities. There have been numerous citations of the Archive and its holdings in various publications, we have helped to set up and keep going the Joint Newsletter, taken in a number of major collections, fielded hundreds of queries, served a variety of researchers, set up web-sites for the ATC, Charterhouse Group and Cassel Hospital, kept our own web-site growing with well over 50,000 user sessions per year, initiated a number of email discussion groups, built up the library, loaned tape recorders, recorded several hundred new recordings, and generally demonstrated that our capacity to discover possibilities and sustain growth was probably greater than we realised.

 

The fall in the value of the Trust's investments over the past year, however, coinciding with the new demands of the Conference Centre and the ATC Administration - both very good things in themselves - have taken us back to something like the position in August 1995, and much that was said in the Discussion Document at that time could effectively be reiterated now. As we try to gear up for a major fund-raising campaign, what is most important is the belief that a report written in another seven years' time will have a very different starting base. Much of our work over the past seven years has been designed to indicate, if not to prove, some of the immense possibilities and opportunities for therapeutic community and progressive education of an active and engaged Archive. It is the financial foundation - the people and their work made possible by the financial foundation - which is critical now, to sustain what we have achieved, and to carry it further.