The ARA Conference is a lively opportunity for professionals in the record keeping field to meet and engage in the largest professional gathering in the UK and Ireland.

ARA conferences are about challenging the way we think, swopping experiences, giving us tools to use in our workplaces and meeting old friends and new colleagues.

The conference is a real highlight of ARA’s year so we hope to see you in Chester in September 2020

Why Attend?

The ARA conference is an exciting part of the Record Keeping sector year. Attending gives you unique opportunities to engage with professional issues, network with colleagues and meet commercial and sectoral colleagues.

There is nothing like an ARA conference to make you feel a part of the profession and this sense of belonging is vital for all of us.

Read what two first time attendees had to say about conference:


“I really enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know others better. The conference is a great place to share ideas and techniques. All of the talks were brilliant. I learnt so much from Yuki’s talk on the ‘myths of japanese papers’ about the qualities to look for and avoid in Japanese papers.”

“I found the conference more provocative than expected, with some really passionate speakers tugging me in different directions with their different viewpoints. I was made to feel very welcome to speak as a new professional. I also felt that there was a mutual respect between new and more experienced speakers. I have also enjoyed talking with people during the breaks and hearing the opinions of others.”

Making Your Case to Attend Conference

Make your case for attending, and show how you’ll be more valuable to your institution afterwards. We hope you can make the case for you to come to at least a day of the ARA Conference. You can also choose to join us for our Wednesday evening reception, or Thursday evening Gala Dinner. If you need help in persuading your employers, we have a model business case letter here:

If you are not able to gain institutional support ARA members can apply for a conference bursary – details will be posted soon.

Bursaries - Helping you to attend Conference?

Best value in the sector

The ARA Conference is the best-value event of its kind in the sector: the full delegate fee includes accommodation, food and a concentrated three-day programme. Delegate fees for 2020 are the lowest since 2013. At the same time, the Conference committee recognises the difficulty many members face in finding the finances or time off to attend. It has therefore developed special day-attendance fees and bursaries to help people attend who might not otherwise be able.

The Bursaries

Full bursaries cover full Conference attendance (the three-day programme, two nights’ accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and three meals a day) and travel expenses of up to £100.

We have four types of bursary this year:

ARA Bursaries

To apply you must be an individual member of the Association who has been a member for at least one year and who is, at the closing date for applications, either a student member, a full member, an overseas member or is registered on the conservation certificate course. Four full ARA Bursaries are available.

New Professionals Bursary

One full bursary is available for members of the ARA Section for New Professionals who have never attended an ARA conference or received an ARA bursary of any sort.

The funds for this bursary are raised by crowd-funding.

Ancestry Bursaries

Four bursaries are available through our Premier Conference sponsors

These bursaries are available to archivists, including archive managers, company archivists, principal archivists and collection managers from a local authority archive who have either never attended the ARA Conference before or have not attended in the last three years (ie were not at Leeds 2019, Glasgow 2018 or Manchester 2017).

Diversity Bursaries

One full bursary is available for ARA members or non-members who do not have a postgraduate qualification in archives and records and have a Black and Minority Ethnic background

Three day-bursaries (ie, to attend one Conference day of choice) are available for ARA members or non-members with or without a postgraduate qualification in archives and records and who are from a Black and Ethnic Minority background.

Speakers at Conference are eligible to apply for any bursary if they meet the relevant criteria.

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