Working in Common for ARCHIVES * RECORDS 2023

by Marcella Huggard and Warren Lambert

The 2023 Program Committee is thrilled to welcome you in July to Washington, DC, and virtually for the 87th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in conjunction with the Council of State Archivists (CoSA). SAA and CoSA have not met together virtually since 2020 and in person since 2019.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “Work in Common/Work Toward Commons.” The Program Committee wanted to reflect on this theme amid the multitude of events related to health, gender, race, politics, and the environment that have confronted our society in the past few years and raised many questions of whether we can—or should—return to an old “normal.” Faced with these global and communal questions, the Program Committee is considering archives as a “commons,” are source governed or managed by users and accessible to all members of a society or group. We are particularly interested in examining intersectional and collaborative work done by archivists, our affiliated professional colleagues, and communities who use our archives.

New “Unconference” Format

The Committee received a total of 140 conference session and poster proposals. We worked to create a program that would involve as many of the proposals as we could and give all attendees something that would be of interest and use for their own work. In addition to the usual special focus sessions, lightning talks, and other sixty- and seventy-five-minute sessions, we are experimenting this year with a 180-minute “unconference” format centered around a specific topic or theme that gives facilitators and participants the power to shape what those three hours look like.

These sessions will focus on advocating for archival workers, reimagining emergency planning, and rethinking security practices in archives and special collections. Each “unconference” will engage audiences in a discussion that reveals and reinforces the common threads that unite our profession.

Session Highlights

The Annual Meeting includes forty sessions this year dedicated to a wide range of topics on how archivists have worked in common toward the commons. Sessions are scheduled across different time blocks to provide attendees with various options based on their interests. The schedule will be similar to last year, with sessions starting later in the morning to allow virtual attendees across the United States ample opportunity to participate. We have added one additional session to each timeblock, creating more learning opportunities for everyone. Each session block will have a livestream/hybrid session, one virtual session, and two to three in-person sessions. All sessions, unless otherwise indicated, will be recorded for everyone attending to view later.

At least one session in each block will focus on government records [GOV]. These sessions address topics such as emotional intelligence, mental health records, records management, community engagement when telling historical stories, Indigenous materials, digital access, community archives, email archiving, fee structures, global commons, and sustainability.

The remaining sessions will also provide learning and networking experiences for attendees. Sessions will explore complex topics, such as linked data and intellectual property; fundamental archival practices, such as accessioning, preservation, and reference services; and archival theory and evolving best practices. Several sessions will examine archival truth telling and the histories of marginalized groups. They will highlight practices for creating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in our profession; understanding contemporary social justice issues connected to Critical Race Theory; and preserving access to the histories of LGBTQ+ communities.

See You in July!

The 2023 Program Committee and SAA staff are building on lessons learned from last year’s hybridmeeting, ensuring that both in-person and virtual attendees take inspiration from sessions and fi ndtime to connect with their colleagues. We will provide activities that ensure all attendees have anequitable experience regardless of how they decide to attend. Stay tuned for details onconversation lounges, open forums, and other programming alongside the education sessions, aswell as a new event management system for scheduling and attending sessions virtually.

The Program Committee looks forward to seeing you at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2023, whether inperson at the Washington Hilton or virtually through your computer screen! For more informationabout the conference and suggestions about what to do in DC from the 2023 Host Committee, visit the blog at Check back often as new details are added in the coming months. 

As published in the May/June issue of Archival Outlook.

CoSA and SAA thank the 2023 Program Committee for their work!

María Matienzo, Co-Chair, Tome
Shannon O'Neill, Co-Chair
Cara Bertram, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Caroline Daniels, University of Louisville
Marcella Huggard, University of Kansas
Warren Lambert, Penn State University Libraries
Jennifer Langford, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center
Julia Larson, Environmental Design Archives, UC Berkeley
Lopez Matthews, District of Columbia State Archives and Office of Public Records
Katherine McBrien, Maine State Archives
Katie McCormick, Florida State University Libraries
Catherine Newsome, Louisiana State Archives
Elizabeth Nosari
Gina Rappaport, Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives
Miriam Sappington, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Annual Meeting referenced: 

CoSA and SAA thank the following Conference Sponsors for their support!

Strategic Partner

Sustaining Partner

2023 Joint Annual Meeting

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