The Program Committee Welcomes You to Chicago!

by Julia Corrin and Ashley Williams Clawson

The 2024 Program Committee is excited to welcome you this August to Chicago, in-person and virtually, for the 88th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA).

The last three years have seen substantial changes in the world. These political, economic, and social shifts are often beyond our control but affect both our work and our work life. Every year, the Program Committee asks attendees and members to consider the future of our profession. This year, instead of setting a theme, the Program Committee sought to invite a wide range of opinions and perspectives on the future of our field and of archival work. We ask attendees to bring their whole selves to this year’s conference and embrace the wide variety of our personal and professional experiences.

New Conversations, New Formats

As part of our efforts to seek a wide range of perspectives and voices, the committee developed one new session format—“Bring Your Own Breakfast”—and one new proposal option—“Mix and Match.” “Bring Your Own Breakfast” (BYOB) sessions will take place before the convening of the main conference on Thursday and Friday and will be an opportunity for archivists interested in similar topics—from the impact of artificial intelligence to caring for family members outside of work—to gather and discuss. These will be more informal gatherings than our traditional conference sessions and will focus on dialogue and connection.

The “Mix and Match” proposal option allowed individuals to propose a talk rather than a full session. We recognize that finding session partners can be intimidating for many people and that finding multiple colleagues to present on an emerging topic might not always be possible. Our goal was to connect archivists who might not have otherwise met one another, encourage individuals who may not have previously submitted a proposal to join the conversation, and provide a venue for exciting new ideas. The committee received fifty “Mix and Match” proposals and crafted four sessions from these talks based on broad, thematic areas.

We received a total of 170 conference sessions and poster proposals this year—thirty more than last year. We hope that these new options will bring more voices to Chicago. We think we’ve created a program that will give all attendees something both useful and interesting to take home with them.

Session Highlights

The Annual Meeting this year includes forty-six sessions on a wide range of topics. Sessions are scheduled throughout the day to give attendees various options based on their interests. The schedule will be similar to the previous two years, with sessions starting later in the morning to allow virtual attendees across the United States ample opportunity to participate. We’ve added the “Bring Your Own Breakfast” option each morning to provide in-person attendees a chance to connect before the formal program commences.

Each session block will have one livestream/hybrid session, one virtual session, and three in-person only sessions, and will provide learning and networking opportunities for attendees. All sessions, unless otherwise noted, will be recorded for everyone attending to stream later.

Sessions this year will explore a wide variety of topics—reflecting both an engagement with core areas of archival practice and an excitement for what is coming next. Presenters will be discussing the physical, digital, social, and ethical aspects of our profession through reference, outreach, accessibility, management succession, repatriation, appraisal, email archiving, political papers, internships, AI, curation, ethics, business archives, and diversity.

We hope attendees will find a range of presentations that speak to their daily work, but also allow opportunities to seek out new areas. The committee strived to create a program that will appeal to a variety of attendees, from academic, government, corporate, nonprofit, and community archives.

See You in August!

The 2024 Program Committee and SAA staff are building on the previous two year’s hybrid meetings, ensuring that all attendees take inspiration from sessions and find time to connect with their colleagues. We will provide activities that ensure all attendees have an equitable experience regardless of how they attend. Stay tuned for details on conversation lounges, open forums, and other programming alongside the education sessions.

The Program Committee looks forward to seeing you at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2024, whether in-person in Chicago or virtually through your computer screen! For more information about the conference and suggestions about what to do in Chicago from the 2024 Host Committee, visit the Annual Meeting website here. Check back often as new details are added in the coming months.

As published in the May/June 2024 Archival Outlook

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.