Call for Program Proposals: 2020 Joint Annual Meeting

Call for Program Proposals
ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020: Creating Our Future
Joint Annual Meeting of CoSA and SAA
August 2–8, 2020 * Hilton Chicago 
Submission Deadline:  Friday, November 15, 2019

ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020: Creating Our Future, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists, will take place August 2–8, 2020, at the Hilton Chicago.

The Conference Theme

Creativity fuels the twenty-first century archivist.

We develop innovative approaches for selecting, describing, preserving, and accessing the archival record. We rely on our resourcefulness to address operational challenges such as staffing constraints and limited budgets; professional issues such as diversity and advocacy; and global concerns such as social justice and the impact of climate change. We draw inspiration from our interactions with our users, the constituencies we seek to document, and each other. We inspire insight, understanding, and new knowledge through the resources we steward and the services we provide. We ensure that the records of our public institutions are preserved and accessible to promote accountability, transparency, and civic engagement. We evolve our practices to be responsive to changing priorities and to chart new directions. We spark innovation across disciplines and professions by establishing new partnerships, alliances, and collaborative communities that challenge tradition and invite experimentation. As digital records and new forms of historical documentation proliferate in the archival landscape, we explore new techniques for carrying out our work, and pioneer the use of new systems and tools that we build and sustain. We are creators ourselves, engaging in the intellectual endeavors of description, interpretation, and generating original scholarship. 

The theme of ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020 invites us to make visible the ingenuity that is inherent in our work—and to consider how we can leverage our creativity to sustain a future-oriented, vibrant, and intellectually invigorating archival profession. . 

Let’s imagine together….

  • What do we want the future to look like?
  • What will it take to create that?
  • What can we create together? With our users? Our constituencies? Our communities
  • What will the role of the archivist be? What will the role of archives be?
  • What do we want the ultimate result of our work to be?

The Program Committee strives to provide an environment in which all ideas—particularly those that challenge the profession’s traditional and dominant discourses—are welcome and encouraged.

Proposal Evaluation

The Program Committee invites submissions for 60- or 75-minute live sessions or poster presentations. Proposals are welcome on any aspect of archives, records, and information management—local, state or territorial, national, and international—especially their intersections with other professions and domains. Each proposal will be evaluated on its completeness and the strength of the 150-word abstract.  Proposals should incorporate one or more of the following: 

  • A strong connection to the program’s theme.
  • Statement of potential impact on archives, records, and information management.
  • Appropriate representation by and about marginalized communities, to help other professionals gain knowledge to ensure that those communities are included in the historical record.
  • Appropriate representation by a diversity of presenters, including non-archivists, who can help the profession grow in knowledge, competence, understanding, and relevance.
  • Relevance of the topic for CoSA and/or SAA members and other interested attendees.
  • Interaction and engagement with session attendees.

The Program Committee intends to be watchful during the selection process of factors that may not be explicitly stated in a proposal but that could hold merit. For example, are the speakers:  Proposing a topic that places them in a vulnerable position? Challenging dominant or “status quo” ways of thinking and doing? Addressing traditional positions of privilege and power (e.g., whiteness, ability, heteronormativity, cis-gender identities, class structures) when discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

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 led by an individual or group, designed to highlight innovative archives or records management programs, new techniques, and research projects. Audience participation is encouraged.

Lightning Talks. Eight to ten lively and informative 5-minute talks in a 60-minute session. The session chair secures commitments from speakers and compiles all presentation slides into one single presentation 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 should be provided and will be printed in the program, but prepared papers are not required. A moderator is required (this role may be performed by the chair); a commentator is optional.

Traditional. 60- or 75-minute session consisting of two or three (and 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.

Working Group. 60- or 75-minute facilitated sessions that provide space for more focused, intentional conversations in order to generate action items to direct future work and/or to identify potential archival pursuits or projects. Ultimately, Working Groups should initiate, build on, and sustain collaborative efforts that advance various interlocking goals in archives and records management. Proposals for Working Group sessions require, at minimum, one pre-designated session chair/facilitator and one pre-designated note-taker. The chair/facilitator(s) is/are responsible for guiding the conversation and related activities of the Working Group session, and the note-taker is responsible for recording notes and action items generated during the session. Shortly after the Joint Annual Meeting, the Working Group session chair will provide CoSA and SAA with a deliverable (polished notes, outline, workflow, an established working group or research team, and/or action items with identified owners). The deliverable(s) will be shared and publicly accessible via the conference website.

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.

A note about Pop-Ups. A separate call for Pop-Up proposals will be issued in the spring of 2020. Do not use the session proposal form for Pop-Ups.

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.

Reminder for Proposal Submitters and Session Participants

Archivists and records administrators 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 administrators, or who are from outside the United States and Canada, may be eligible for complimentary registration upon request. CoSA and SAA cannot provide funding for speakers, whether they are international, non-archivists, non-records administrators, members, or nonmembers.

Proposals for the 2020 Joint Annual Meeting are due on Friday, November 15, 2019.

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


The 2020 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 2020 Joint Annual Meeting. It is not monitored by CoSA, SAA, or the Program Committee and is not part of the official submission process.

Annual Meeting referenced: 

SAA Code of Conduct

We value and respect our diverse guests, volunteers, service providers, and staff members. We expect all of our attendees to do the same. Read the SAA Code of Conduct.