Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award: Eliot Wilczek

Eliot Wilczek, records and knowledge management engineer, is the 2022 recipient of the Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in SAA’s journal, American Archivist.

Wilczek is being honored for “Archival Engagements with Wicked Problems,” which appeared in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of American Archivist (vol. 84, no. 2). His article confronts the idea of “wicked problems” and examines the role of archives in them. Although the notion of wicked problems is not new, even in the archival profession, this article inspires broad thinking about the wicked problems archivists face as we engage with societal challenges. Documenting policing of underserved communities, refugees, child welfare, and climate change are just a few of the ideas the author explores while examining community engagement, records and recordkeeping systems, and archival theory and practice in the framework of wicked problems. Although archivists’ efforts are often modest, the author encourages archivists to "persistently strive to make the archival profession and surrounding communities better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today."

Established in 1982, the award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow and former president as well as a distinguished author.