Carli V. Lowe, Candidate for Nominating Committee

Carli V. Lowe

University Archivist
Too often those who are rewarded with positions of power are deemed acceptable because they have aligned themselves with the status quo.



Born and raised in San Francisco, I was an elementary school teacher for eleven years before developing an interest in archives. As an educator, I emphasized the implementation of social justice practices in my own classroom and throughout the school at large. I developed curriculum about identity, ableism, and food justice, mentored teachers in training, and implemented new programming for students, faculty, and staff. These experiences in the classroom taught me about the power of information to impact individuals and communities, leading directly to an interest in information science, and an internship at the Freedom Archives that cemented my commitment to putting historic records at the service of marginalized communities.

I received my MLIS in May 2019 through the online program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, studying as both an ALA Spectrum Scholar and ARL Kaleidoscope Scholar. As university archivist at San José State University, my research is focused on developing practices that shift collecting strategies, expand archival audiences, and improve the sustainability of archival institutions, with the goal of ensuring that archives are relevant to present needs and prepared for future challenges.

Serving in SAA has allowed me to become deeply connected to and invested in the profession. I joined SAA as a student thanks to the ARL Kaleidoscope program’s commitment to helping students pay for professional memberships. I have been serving on the SAA Committee on Education since 2018, first as a student intern, then as a general member, and now as the chair. I am also a member of the ad hoc organizing committee that brought the proposal for the Archival Workers Emergency Fund (AWEF) to the SAA Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, additionally serving as a member of the AWEF Review Committee. I actively seek service opportunities that will allow me to contribute my knowledge and expertise in meaningful ways and learn something new about my work, the community, or this profession at large.



Each candidate prepared a diversity statement according to SAA guidelines.

I have come to view diversity, equity, and inclusion as a low bar, but one most institutions and organizations have failed to reach. I want to be working towards antiracism as an adjacent, but higher bar that I hope will one day be considered a bare minimum expectation.

Diversity means that a multitude of identities, abilities, perspectives, histories, and norms are present in a given space. Equity means that a diversity of needs are provided for, prioritizing the most vulnerable. Inclusion means that the multitude of voices present in a diverse space, with an emphasis on those who have been historically marginalized, have power in decision- making processes. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in an organization that is not ready to name and extricate racist practices will create little change.

My professional journey has taken me from education to LIS, two disciplines having similar conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In my classroom, I intentionally developed all of my curriculum centered around social justice, whether it was STEM, humanities, or social and emotional learning. I take a similar approach to my work in archives, centering my everyday decisions on a commitment to the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities, while constantly seeking to learn and challenge my assumptions. I believe it is the everyday commitment to this work that will have lasting impacts. I strive to be reflective and to surround myself with people I can count on to call me out (or in) when necessary so I can continue to learn and grow. This has raised my awareness of some of my implicit biases. I have no doubt that there are many of which I am unaware.

My current research project about transformative encounters with information is an example of how I reflect DEI in my work. I have committed to developing a pool of interviewees in which no ethnic identity, gender, or age group is in the majority. This has meant conducting continuous, iterative, and patient outreach, hearing feedback from the communities I am trying to reach, and reflecting on how my outreach language and/or research design might be creating barriers to participation. I am still learning about trauma-informed practice, and do not feel like I know enough about it yet to speak to it here, but I understand it to be another bar that should be a bare minimum.

If elected to the Nominating Committee, I will prioritize identifying a diverse pool of candidates for SAA leadership who are committed to antiracist practices. I will advocate for defining specific and measurable goals for the diversity of that pool, and taking deliberate action to meet those goals.



The primary role of the Nominating Committee is to identify rising and experienced leaders from within SAA and the archival profession who can bring fresh and diverse perspectives to SAA leadership. Describe how you interpret this core responsibility and how you will work to identify candidates who demonstrate commitment to the SAA Strategic Plan and SAA’s robust commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA).


Identifying both rising and experienced leaders with commitments to SAA’s Strategic Plan as well as Work Plan on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility, will require the Nominating Committee to conduct broad outreach and recruitment, understanding what barriers might exist to potential candidates learning about or running for positions, and considering what we might be able to do to mitigate those barriers. Continuously growing and challenging ourselves as an organization is not just vital to our survival, but also to our ability to impact the profession. The Nominating Committee members must practice transparency and accountability with one another, considering and reflecting on how our own biases might impact our approach to this work.

Diversity of identity in a pool of candidates, or in a body of leadership is necessary, but not sufficient to drive progress. In the institutions and professional organizations I have been a part of, I have too often seen that diverse faces do not necessarily manifest diverse perspectives. Too often those who are rewarded with positions of power are deemed acceptable because they have aligned themselves with the status quo. I wonder if we are brave enough (I hope we are) to actively seek something different. I hope this position might offer the opportunity to explore that question. I have been heartened by recent elections, but remain a dedicated skeptic. I hope to do my part to continue the momentum and expand on any progress we have seen so far.

My experiences as an active member of SAA have been central to my professional growth and greatly contributed to the joy that I take in my work. I want to identify candidates for leadership who can continue moving this organization towards being more accessible to and representative of more of our archivist colleagues.



Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2022 election:

Vice President/President-Elect


Nominating Committee