VII Insider – Hilary Roberts and Alison Nordstrom on Archiving

Photographers and Archives Session 1: Creating the Archive with Alison Nordström and Hilary Roberts


In a VII Insider series of conversations moderated by Paul Lowe, curators Alison Nordström and Hilary Roberts draw upon their vast professional experience to consider how archives are created, what is involved in maintaining them for future generations, and issues associated with their exploitation. Explore all three sessions, created through our partnership with VII Foundation.

Part One:
  • What is an archive (including the difference between a collection and an archive)?
  • Who creates an archive? What is its purpose? What should be included (proactive vs passive collecting)?
  • How should it be organized? What is the cost of creating an archive? What is its value?
  • What are the essential decisions when creating an archive?


Photographers and Archives Session 2: Preserving the Archive with Alison Nordström and Hilary Roberts

  • Preserving images and preserving objects. Stages of archive preservation and management (short, medium, long term)
  • Past versus present practice (format issues, accountability, ethics, due diligence)
  • Roles of the photographer, the photographer’s representatives, museum, libraries and archives
  • The acquisition process


Photographers and Archives Session 3: Accessing the Archive with Hilary Roberts and Alison Nordström

  • How will your photographs outlive you? How will they be seen?
  • Who uses archives, why and how? What are the potential benefits?
  • How do you balance access and preservation needs?
  • How do you fund archives? Are they viable sources of revenue?
  • What is the future of archives in the internet age?