Information Studies


Anna Sexton

I am a Research Associate in the department currently working on an ADRC-E/ESRC project on the themes of risk, consent and trust in relation to research access to government administrative datasets.

I have regularly worked as a sessional lecturer on the MA in Archives & Records Management teaching on GO59 Concepts & Contexts, G001 Access & Use and G060 Curation & Stewardship.

I completed my PhD in 2015, which was an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award between this department and the Wellcome Library.

In my PhD I used action research to explore participatory approaches to building life history archives in the context of mental health. I worked with a group of contributors to create a multi-media online archive that documents aspects of their personal mental health recovery. The digital archive can be found here.

I took an auto-ethnograhich approach to writing my thesis, drawing on the embodied knowledge that I gained from being a participant-observer in the construction of the archive. In my thesis I aim to unravel and trace the complex threads of power, authority and control that have run through the process. I explore questions around whether my espoused participatory stance has fulfilled the rhetoric of being research that is 'with' and not 'on' the contributors; how trust and reciprocity was built and maintained; the nature of the relational ties that were established; and the blurring of distinctions between the professional and personal that was inherent in the process. My thesis seeks to speak to the broader questions in archival theory and practice around archival endeavours approached within a social justice framework as well as offering some specific insights into archival work that seeks to document mental health from the perspective of the individual with lived experience.

Recent employment history:

2013: Early Career Researcher, Dig Where We Stand: A multi-disciplinary AHRC research funded project supporting community groups across London in receipt of HLF 'All Our Stories' funding (Principle Investigator: Andrew Flinn, DIS, UCL)

2004-2011, Archives Manager, Peterborough Archives Service

2001-2004, Research Assistant, LEADERS Project (Linking EAD to Electronically Retrievable Resources), DIS, UCL


2001: MA in Archives & Records Management (Distinction): DIS, UCL.
Thesis topic: 'life-long learning in the context of local authority archives'

2000: Certificate in Life History Work (University of Sussex)

1998: BA English Literature (2:1): University of Leicester


with Andrew Flinn (2013) ‘Research on community heritage: moving from collaborative research to participatory and co-designed research practice’, Nexus, Confluence, and Difference: Community Archives meets Community Informatics: Prato CIRN Conference Oct 28-30 2013, Editors: Larry Stillman, Amalia Sabiescu, Nemanja Memarovic, Centre for Community Networking Research, Centre for Social Informatics, Monash University. ISBN 978-0-9874652-1-4 Available here

with Geoffrey Yeo, Chris Turner and Susan Hockey (2004) 'User Feedback: testing the LEADERS demonstrator application', Journal of the Society of Archivists vol.25 no.2, pp.189-208

with Geoffrey Yeo, Chris Turner and Susan Hockey (2004) 'Understanding Users: a prerequisite for developing new technologies', Journal of the Society of Archivists vol.25 no.1, pp.33-49

with Geoffrey Yeo, Chris Turner and Susan Hockey (2003) 'TEI, EAD and Integrated User Access to Archives: towards a generic toolset', in J. Anderson, A. Dunning and M. Fraser (eds.), DRH 2001 and 2002: Selected papers from the Digital Resources in the Humanities Conferences, pp.243-262

Recent Conference Papers:

How Do We Shape the Archival Record? Exploring the Relationship Between Collection Development and Representation at the Wellcome Library in London, Archival Education & Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, USA, July 2014

(with Dolly Sen) Two Perspectives on Creating the Mental Health Recovery Archive, Alternative Psychiatric Narratives Conference, Birkbeck, University of London, May 2014

(with Jenny Bunn) Community & Participative Approaches to Archives, Memories, Identities & Communities Conference, University of Dundee, April 2014

(with Andrew Flinn) Moving from collaborative research to participatory and co-designed research practice, Community Informatics Research Network, Monash Centre, Prato, Italy, October 2013

Exploring Participatory Methodology in the Construction of a Digital Archive on Recovery in Mental Health, Archival Education & Research Institute, University of Texas, Austin, USA, June 2013

Contact details:

Email: a.sexton.11@ucl.ac.uk
Office: G30, Ground Floor, Foster Court
Telephone: 020 7679 7204

Twitter: @annasexton100