The ICA New Professionals Programme

by Anne-Flore Laloë

There is still time to apply for the 2020-2021 ICA New Professionals Programme (NPP) and if you are eligible – I strongly urge you to apply. The deadline is the end of June.

I was incredibly lucky to be selected as part of the 2019-2020 Programme, and it’s been a thrilling experience. I had been working as archivist for 4 years and only just completed a masters in Archives and Records Management (distance learning) at the University of Dundee. Like a lot of us, though, I worked alone, albeit as part of various local, national or international professional organisations. I saw in the NPP the chance to interact with a more people, from all over the world, who are also starting out as archivists.

The 2019-2020 Active NP cohort (as the ICA calls us) is made of 6 of us with different interests and backgrounds. We all got to meet in person at the ICA Conference in Adelaide, Australia in October 2019 where we presented together about our work. This was an incredible professional opportunity in itself! And, while it’s easy to say that the “best part” of the programme is the opportunity to travel to the next ICA conference or congress – the next cohort will be attending the ICA Congress in Abu Dhabi , UAE – there is so much more to the programme.

Each Active NP is assigned a mentor, and mine could not be more kind. Professionally and from his background, he could also not be more different to me. What we have in common it we’re both French-speaking archivists and immigrants in Germany. Over the year, he has helped me, supported me, given me new perspectives on work and life. We try to speak every week, and when we do, it’s always a highlight of my day.

Then, there’s the other Active NPs. We are a very diverse group – different life stories and career paths – all starting out in our chosen profession, with all the challenges and opportunities that come with that. As part of the NPP, the ICA assigned us with several responsibilities, such as managing the Programme’s social media and working on a project for the archival community. (Our project is still being worked on and will be launched soon.)

One of the best parts of the project has been to work on our project together, as a team. We each bring our strengths and together have made something which is much better than any one of us could have done alone. I’m sure of it. The NPP and “my” cohort have in no small way improved my ability to work in a group. And more than helping me professionally – my fellow NPs have become friends. This is an incredibly awesome part of the NPP.

There’s much more – meeting new colleagues, discovering new topics – but, in short, it’s all about being pushed outside of your comfort zone, but also given a really nice parachute to slow the fall. Go for it!


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