Home » Meet the Team – Highland Archive Centre

Meet the Team – Highland Archive Centre

Richard Aitken, Senior Conservator

I began working for the Highland Archive Service in 2009 as Senior Conservator after having previously worked for the West Yorkshire Archive Service where I qualified in 1998. In 2010 I was awarded accreditation status and in 2013 I completed a Masters in Preventive Conservation with Northumbria University. I thoroughly enjoy my job at the Highland Archive Service helping look after an extensive collection covering the whole of the Highland region. The daily job can cover a range of tasks, no two days are the same. The way of life is fabulous up here with clean fresh air. I began kayaking once I moved up here and I now have a 3 star in sea kayaking which I enjoy immensely, visiting coves and uninhabited islands and seeing wildlife such as dolphins and seals. I also enjoy a bit of running and cycling.

Grant Begg, Archive Centre Steward

I joined the Highland Archive Service Team in 2013, after having worked initially for the MOD in recovery work and laterally as a security officer with Mitie Total Security Management. At the Highland Archive Centre my duties include looking after the security of the building, dealing with contractors, helping out with the running of the Learning Centre and liasing with staff in all deparments. In my spare time I enjoy hill walking and golf and I watch many forms of sport, especially shinty.

Mike Clark, Records Assistant

Highland Archive Centre Mike ClarkI joined the Highland Archive Service in September 2016. As such, I am still very much in the ‘learning phase’ trying to support the rest of the team where I can.

When not working, I enjoy following football, being a life-long supporter of Arsenal Football Club and more recently attending Caley Thistle home games.

Carrie Farnell, Trainee Conservator

I started working as a Trainee Archive Conservator at the Highland Archive Service in June 2014. As a trainee, my responsibilities include learning how to repair, look after and conserve old documents such as books and maps making them usable for the public in the archive search room. I am currently studying for my second degree on the Archives and Records Association Conservation training scheme, which involves travelling to record offices all over the country and undertaking work based placements working on many different subjects such as bookbinding and repairing wax seals. The courses vary from 2 weeks – 8 weeks long. I have worked in Archives for nearly 6 years and I hope to qualify as a Conservator by December 2017. Outside of work I really enjoy running, training with the Inverness Harriers (the local running club) and lifting weights at the gym.

Anne Fraser, Family Historian

Anne Fraser Family Historian Highland Archive Centre RI started work with the Highland Archives in 1997 and subsequently gained a postgraduate qualification in Family and Local History from Dundee University. My role as Family Historian, based in Inverness, includes carrying out in-depth family history research for customers and I especially love compiling their family trees.  I think this interest has stemmed from my grandfather who even knew the complete lineage of his sheepdogs and patented his own tartan. I also really enjoy delivering talks, classes, workshops and other outreach events, which promote our marvellous archive collections. These collections helped me achieve the publication of a book in 2014 about the 300 year history of schools on the south side of Loch Ness, where many of my ancestors lived.

Out of work, I have just finished a six year stint as the Girls’ Brigade Commissioner for the Highlands; serve on the Clan Chattan Council; love reading and am an active member of my church. I am in the privileged position of having three happily married children, who between them all, have given me eight grand-children, to date!  It’s a joy to spend time with my whole family and especially when we escape to our bolt hole in North Uist.

Jamie Gaukroger, Am Baile Co-ordinator

I joined the Am Baile team in November 2002, having worked previously for the library service in Edinburgh. I started as a Temporary Metadata Creator and was only supposed to be here in Inverness for the six months prior to the site’s launch! I became Content Co-ordinator in May 2005, a post I held until 2011 when the project became a single-manned operation. I was fortunate enough to be that person and have kept developing the site and its content ever since. When not immersed in historical research and information management I love to watch old movies, read, listen to music and explore the beautiful area I live in.

Alison Mason, Highland Archivist

Alison Mason-Highland Archivist-Highland Archive CentreI was appointed Highland Archivist in March 2014, having previously worked as an Archivist and Records Manager for Aberdeen City Council, and then latterly as Records Manager for North Lanarkshire Council (Motherwell). I grew up with a love of history, surrounded by a family of historians and story tellers, and discovered my love for archives while an undergraduate of Scots Law and History at the University of Glasgow, spending lots of my study time in the university library special collections. I love the variety of the job, and particularly introducing new audiences to the archive collections, using the stories found within the records to enhance a sense of place, personal and local identity within the Highlands. Having over 10 years of experience working in archives in other parts of Scotland, I was delighted to be lucky enough to be able to return home to the Highlands and carry on working in the field I love, while also accessing archive collections which relate directly to my own heritage, which is a great privilege. In my spare time I enjoy walking in nature, practicing yoga, reading, baking and spending time with my family.

Fiona McDonald, Records Assistant

Highland Archive Centre Fiona McDonaldI started working at the Highland Archive Centre officially in October 2013, as the Records Assistant after being employed since May 2013 on a temporary contract. I love the cornucopia of experiences that my job brings each day.

In my spare time I love to sing, dance, act, choreograph and direct. I am a member of local societies including Inverness Musical Theatre and the Florians Drama Group.

Fiona Mackenzie, Archive Assistant

Fiona Mackenzie Archive Assistant Highland Archive CentrecI started working as an archive assistant in August 2017.  I have always had a keen interest in history and all things from our past, whether I’m looking at letters, records, family history, or absorbing music, culture and traditions.  I love that I can come to work and have access to a treasure trove of interesting and exciting things, you never quite know what the day will bring.  I also really love helping people with questions they have about their own family as I find everyone’s family tree fascinating.

I am passionate about Gaelic and in particular Gaelic song. I’m lucky to have been brought up on the Isle of Lewis where we have a rich heritage of Gaelic song and bardachd (poetry) and also a wealth of beautiful beaches and moorland, so I had plenty of opportunities growing up to appreciate the stunning nature and landscape around us here in the Highlands and Islands.

Martyn MacLean, Trainee Records Officer

I started working at the Highland Archive Centre in October 2014, as the Trainee Records Officer within the Records Management team. As part of my traineeship I have been doing my Master’s degree in Archives and Records Management through the University of Dundee. Workwise, I am interested in the development and implementation of information governance and the impact it has on us all. When I’m away from work I like to go and watch my local football team, Ross County, and listen to music which could be anything from Bob Dylan to Public Enemy to Talking Heads and pretty much anything else in between!

Fiona MacLeod, Senior Archivist

I started work with the Highland Archive Service in October 1992 when there were just two members of staff – myself and the Regional Archivist.  Over the years I have seen the Service grow and prosper and was closely involved in setting up the three Area Archive Centres in Wick, Fort William and Portree.  I became Senior Archivist in 2008 and am responsible for the collections and delivery of the public service at the Highland Archive Centre. I feel very privileged to do the job I do which is made even more special by the personal connection I have to some of the records we hold.  In my spare time I enjoy photography and reading.

Peter Mennie, Assistant Archivist

Having joined Highland Archives in 2009 and worked at its previous location in Inverness Library, I have seen how the advent of the Highland Archive Centre has transformed the provision of the public archive service. As a member of the archive team I work with our historic collections and the public with the aim of bringing the two together in the pursuit of information and knowledge. I have a long-standing interest in Scottish history and enjoy the privilege of being able to use and learn from original source material in the promotion of the value of archives to society.

Trevor Nicol, Records Manager

I began working at the Highland Archive Centre as a Trainee Records Officer in May 2010. I received my Master’s degree in Archives and Records Management through the University of Dundee in 2014 and have been the Records Manager since July 2014. My favourite part of records management is the fact that I get to deal with people at different levels from every Council service. Out of the work environment I am a keen amateur actor and director and have been involved in many diverse productions over the years including Pygmalion, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Diary of Anne Frank. To keep fit I run four times a week, play golf and walk my beloved Labrador, Daisy.

Debbie Potter, Assistant Archivist

I started working as the Trainee Archivist at the Highland Archive Centre in April 2014 and became an Assistant Archivist in July 2017. I started my Master’s degree in Archives and Records Management as part of my traineeship and qualified as an Archivist in early 2017, but I still have to finish my dissertation. My favourite part of working here is all the detective work – I love figuring things out and tracing people through the records, I’m also partial to a good story so I am most definitely spoilt for choice here. When I’m not working I like to read, learn about random subjects and play my PlayStation for hours on end.

Lorna Steele, Community Engagement Officer

I started working as an Archive Assistant at the Highland Archive Centre, Inverness, in October 2014 and was appointed Community Engagement Officer in July 2017. My work background prior to this was in retail and hospitality, but working at the Highland Archive Centre allows me to indulge my love of language and history on a daily basis, and regularly draws on knowledge I gained while doing my English Language MA (Hons) at the University of Edinburgh.  I love working with historic documents, deciphering handwriting, uncovering stories and connecting people to the Highlands’ past.  Outside work I enjoy reading, travelling, walking, geocaching and dancing round my house to good music!

Meet the Team in our other archive centres

Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, Portree

Lochaber Archive Centre, Fort William