Cleveland Rocks...and so will YOU!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aside, Cleveland rocks!

It’s a city of many firsts: home of the world’s first streetcar, the first x-ray, the first LifeSavers candy . . . and as the site of SAA’s 2015 Annual Meeting, Cleveland will be the first to host our conference in a convention center rather than a hotel. Cleveland: Scenic views of Lake Erie, noted eateries, major sports franchises, the Cleveland Clinic, and some of the nation’s most significant cultural repositories, including, yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum!

The decision to meet in a convention center, along with all of the ARCHIVES 2015 Program Committee’s deliberations regarding the conference, have been inspired by the Principles and Priorities for Continuously Improving the SAA Annual Meeting, adopted by the SAA Council in August 2013 and based largely on the final report of the 24-member Annual Meeting Task Force. The Principles provide a mandate for exploring new structures and content for the Annual Meeting on an ongoing basis. Among the stated priorities are commitments to experiment with new approaches to professional networking and with new formats and content for educational sessions.

New in Cleveland: Pop-Up Sessions

The Program Committee has worked hard to think outside the box for ways to realize these priorities within the parameters of contracted time and space. One example: We’ll be scheduling fewer seventy-five-minute sessions to free up time for new “Pop-Up” sessions. The Pop-Up slots will be offered in response to repeated requests from members for 1) space and time for spur-of-the moment sessions to extend a vibrant discussion at an earlier session, section or roundtable meeting, or lunch; and 2) the chance to talk about an emerging issue or trend that has arisen since the October 2014 deadline for proposal submissions.

Pop-Ups in the first category—spontaneously occurring—will be managed onsite at the conference. Those in the second category will be peer-reviewed based on a Call for Proposals that will go out in June 2015. We’ll have to be nimble! But we have built into the schedule ten Pop-Up session slots, five of which will run concurrently on Thursday in a previously un-programmed time slot and the remaining five of which will occur throughout the three days of education programming.

Come to the Pop-Up Sessions table in the registration area during the conference to vote for which Pop-Ups will fill the final slots.

Assembling the Program

The Program Committee met at SAA’s Chicago headquarters in November for two and a half days and nights of intense discussion to assemble an interesting, varied, and edifying body of sessions created by (and beyond) SAA’s members. The committee is tremendously appreciative of the SAA staff for their preparation and organization of the meeting (#herdingcats). The committee had the challenging task of selecting 63 sessions from the 143 strong proposals. Our call for proposals encouraged submission of proposals emphasizing successful advocacy programs and speaking to the state of the profession. Choosing among such great proposals was the hardest task, and we thank everyone who submitted one!

Submitting a Proposal

If you’re interested in learning more about the proposal submission and review process, we invite you to attend a special session on Friday, August 21 (4:30-5:30 pm), when we’ll discuss how the Annual Meeting program is developed. Our goal is to help those considering submitting a proposal gain insight into what makes a strong proposal and the pitfalls that could doom an otherwise good one.

All Program Committees are conscious of the many voices that wish to be heard at the Annual Meeting. The archives profession serves a variety of patrons and an array of cultural and intellectual needs. Excellent session proposals sometimes have to be declined to accommodate the diversity that is our profession. We hope that our program selection is representative of who we are and, more importantly, where we are going as a profession.

Whether your tastes run to Aerosmith or Beethoven, to celebrity chefs or craft breweries or food trucks, please plan to join us in Cleveland, Ohio, August 16-22. We’re confident that you’ll find at ARCHIVES 2015 the opportunity to connect with the people, ideas, and tools that will take your career to the next level!

The 2015 Program Committee

Row 1: Lynn Eaton (Co-Chair), James Madison University; Carl Van Ness (Co-Chair), University of Florida; Jen Graham, Wisconsin Historical Society.

Row 2: Natalia Fernandez, Oregon State University; Brett Carnell, The Library of Congress; Ellen Engseth (holding Lily Beaumont), University of Minnesota; Rebecca Bizonet; Sharmila Bhatia, National Archives at College Park; Joshua Youngblood, University of Arkansas Libraries; Kim Sims, The College of William and Mary. Not pictured: Natalie Zagami Lopez, California Poly Pomona University.

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