Third keynote speaker announced – Martyn Sibley

More on this year’s venue: Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Support a new professional: contribute to a bursary at our mydonate page

Special tour of Glasgow School of Art temporary repository: spaces limited

Just shy of 100 people have already registered for this year’s conference, meaning that we are on course to break last year’s record attendance in Manchester. Sign up now and be part of the main gathering of the records profession in the UK and Ireland this year.

We have already announced our first two keynote speakers: Michelle Caswell of the University of California, Los Angeles and Professor Gus John, leading thinkers and advocates for strengthening the voice of the marginalised and victims of injustice.

Third keynote speaker announced

In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘People Make Records’, we are delighted to announce the third Conference keynote speaker, Martyn Sibley.

Martin Sibley

Martyn is one of the UK’s most prominent activists and advocates for the disabled. Describing himself as ‘…a regular guy who happens to have a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)’ - which means that he cannot walk, lift anything heavier than a book or shower himself - Martyn is nonetheless an entrepreneur, an author and generally dedicated to pushing the boundaries wherever and whenever he finds them.

A tireless optimist and positive thinker, Martyn runs Disability Horizons: check out the extraordinary range of activities and issues he addresses at He is also the author of the inspiring book, ‘Everything is Possible’, which details his global travels to places like Mexico, Catalonia, what he experienced and how he overcame barriers: it is both amusing and revealing in equal measure. He also happens to have a degree in economics and a masters in marketing.

For anyone seeking to better understand and serve the disabled community, which should be all of us, Martyn is a ‘must-hear’ at this year’s Conference, and we feel fortunate and privileged that he has agreed to join us. He will pepper us with ideas on how to rethink our approach to disability and how we engage disabled people as individuals and as a community, addressing issues such as accessibility, creativity and inclusion. Look out for more details in the next edition of ARC magazine.

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

Grand Central Hotel

Our venue this year is a living historical archive. The Grand Central Hotel (also known by its original name, the Central Hotel), is slap-bang in the centre of the city and sits just across from the platforms at the main Glasgow Central railway station. (So, if you are coming to Conference by train this year, dispel any notion of a hike to the venue, dragging your bags in the rain, or having to look for a bus or taxi).

In its pre and post-war heyday, the Central was one of Glasgow's most prestigious hotels, hosting residents like Frank Sinatra, Laurel & Hardy (twice) and Winston Churchill. Originally designed by the revivalist Scottish architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, in Queen Anne style, the hotel was completed in 1883. It was extended along with the railway station between 1901 and 1906, this time by another of Scotland’s most remarkable architects, James Miller, whose legacy to Glasgow’s wider architectural heritage is perhaps unmatched.

The Central is perhaps most famous for being the place that received the world's first long-distance television pictures, transmitted from London on 24 May 1927 by the renowned Scottish engineer and father of television, John Logie Baird.

In June 2009, the Principal Hayley Group acquired the Central and refurbished it with great sympathy for its art-deco heritage. It is protected as a category A listed building, and the corridors feature numerous photographs of the hotel’s past and its (very many) notable guests.


Thanks to the generosity of ARA members, we have already hit the target for one crowd-funded bursary for a new professional to attend Conference this year. Sincere thanks to each and every person who made a donation. As announced last time, we are now hoping to offer a second bursary. So, if you were thinking about donating but have not done so yet, now’s your chance. As ARC goes to press, we are already around half way to a second bursary. It’s simple to donate: just visit our mydonate webpage at: and follow the instructions.

A special side event – Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections

Glasgow School of Art

As mentioned last time, we are working with the internationally-renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Archives and Collections to organise a bespoke tour on the afternoon of 30 August of the school’s archives and collections for around two hours. These are currently housed in a temporary facility in the Whisky Bond while the school’s renowned Rennie Mackintosh building in central Glasgow is restored following the devastating fire in 2014 that destroyed, among other things, the school’s iconic library (though not its archive). To learn more about the collection, visit:

For anyone interested in rescue and recovery of records and the practical challenges of emergency evacuation and service restoration, this is a most valuable opportunity. We will be hosted by GSA’s outstanding archives and collections team. Space limitations mean that we can accommodate a maximum of 15 people on this tour. Contact: [log in to unmask] to sign up. If you are one of the hundred or so who registered to attend Conference as ‘early-birds’, you will have priority.


Visit for full details of this year’s programme, venue, how to register to attend, and much more.

John Chambers

CEO, ARA     


Conference Committee

Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland)


ARA Annual Conference 2018

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

29 August – 31 August


Prioryfield House

20 Canon Street






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