User perspective and user studies have received noticeably little practical attention in archives and archival science. The purpose of this article is to address the issues of communication and user participation in archival contexts. Two action research projects-based digital archives are discussed. The insights gained during the research and development work are used to formulate a new approach to a participatory archive. In spite of the historical nature of the archives discussed, the suggested ways of interacting with an archive are not specific to historical records. The fundamental characteristics of the proposed approach are decentralised curation, radical user orientation, and contextualisation of both records and the entire archival process.