Call for 2017 Program Proposals

ARCHIVES 2017: alike/different

Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists
July 23 - 29, 2017
Oregon Convention Center • Portland


ARCHIVES 2017: alike/different, the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists, will take place July 23-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The 2017 Program Committee invites submissions for 60- or 75-minute live sessions or poster presentations that reflect current issues in the archives profession.

The conference theme—alike/different—acknowledges that we archivists sit under a very large tent and, while we have many similarities, there are ways in which we differ—sometimes fundamentally. It encourages a recognition of the diversity that exists in archives, among the people who use them, and among archivists. The programming offered at ARCHIVES 2017 will use that recognition to spur inclusion in the profession, in the record, and in the broader community.

In the spirit of continuing to experiment with ways to make the Annual Meeting even more meaningful and relevant, programming on Saturday, July 29, will be dedicated to The Liberated Archive: A Forum for Envisioning and Implementing a Community-Based Approach to Archives. How might archivists partner with communities to recast the archive as a site of social transformation? Additional forum information and a call for proposals will be forthcoming in January 2017.

To submit a proposal for inclusion on the ARCHIVES 2017: alike/different education program on Thursday, July 27, and Friday, July 28, please note the following.

Proposal Evaluation: Session proposals are welcome on any aspect of archives and records management practices—local, national, and international—as well as their intersections with other professions and domains. Each proposal will be evaluated on the strength of the 150-word abstract, the diversity of the speakers and their experience, the proposal’s relationship to the program theme, and the completeness of the proposal. Session proposals should incorporate one or more of the following:

  • Inclusion of diverse or international perspectives and initiatives.
  • Statement of potential impact on archival practice.
  • Relevance of the topic for SAA members and other interested attendees.
  • Interaction and engagement with session participants.

Session Formats: The Program Committee encourages submission of proposals that may include, but are not limited to, the following formats:

Incubator Session. 60-minute session consisting of two presentations of 10 minutes each that describe project, research, or collaboration initiatives in their developing or formative stages, and including at least 40 minutes of interactive discussion with feedback from the audience.

Special Focus Session. 60-minute session designed to highlight innovative archives or records management programs, new techniques, and research projects. Audience participation is encouraged.

Lightning Talks. Eight to eleven lively and informative 5-minute talks in a 60-minute session. The session chair secures commitments from speakers and compiles all presentation slides to ensure timely speaker transitions. Proposals in this category may suggest recommended presenters; commitments should be secured soon after the proposal is accepted.

Panel Discussion. 60- or 75-minute session consisting of a panel of three to five individuals discussing theories or perspectives on a given topic. The goal of a panel discussion is to have a more informal session with time for audience feedback. Presentation titles are not printed in the program and prepared papers are not required. A moderator is required; a commentator is optional.

Traditional. 60- or 75-minute session consisting of two—or no more than three—fully prepared papers of 15 minutes each and a comment-and-discussion period. A separate chair is optional for this format; chair duties may be performed by one of the speakers. Paper titles are required.

Poster Presentation. Report in which information is summarized using brief written statements and graphic materials, such as photographs, charts, graphs, and/or diagrams mounted on poster board. Presenters will be assigned a specific time at which they must be with their poster to discuss it with attendees.

Alternative Format. Don’t feel confined by the prescribed formats—suggest an alternative or create your own! Alternative format sessions may take a variety of forms. Examples include world café and fishbowl discussions. Propose a moderated debate offering opposing points of view, or an “experiential” format involving simulation, role play, or games to convey key principles and learning objectives. We welcome your creative ideas about how your topic might best be addressed! Proposals in this category must: 1) specify the format and session facilitator and 2) describe briefly how the format will enhance presentation of the material. You may suggest up to four presenters for the session.

Your format choice will not affect the Program Committee’s decision. The Committee may, however, recommend that the proposed format be changed if it believes that a different format may better serve the session’s learning objectives or desired audience.

Pop-Up Sessions.  As in 2016, we will invite Pop-Up session proposals at a later date and sessions will be selected via member vote. Do not use the session proposal form for Pop-Ups; a separate call for Pop-Up proposals will be issued in early 2017.

Reminder for Proposal Submitters and Session Participants: Archivists and records managers who participate in the program (including in Pop-Up sessions) must register and secure institutional or personal funding. Participants who are not archivists or records managers, or who are from outside the United States and Canada, may be eligible for complimentary registration upon request. SAA cannot provide funding for speakers, whether they are international, non-archivists, non-records managers, members, or nonmembers.

Proposals for the 2017 Annual Meeting are due on November 18, 2016.

The Program Committee will not consider proposals received after the deadline.

Click here to submit your proposal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Submitting a Session Proposal


The 2017 Program Committee has created a Google spreadsheet to be used as an informal tool to connect individuals who are seeking ideas and/or collaboration on session proposals for the 2017 Annual Meeting. It is not monitored by SAA or the Program Committee and is not part of the official submission process.

Annual Meeting referenced: 

SAA thanks the following Sponsors for their generous support!