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Home Improvement: Building Archives Through Change

The keepers of memory have many homes. Whether your role is as an archivist, community organizer, records manager, researcher, storykeeper, or data curator, we live in many layered places at once. There are the institutional homes where we work as stewards and preservers, where we teach and learn, and where we provide services and consult and collaborate with our communities. We have professional homes embodied by associations, academic programs, collaborative networks, and informal meetups. And this year, much of our work is taking place in our physical homes at kitchen tables, in home offices, and backyards. 

Homes require maintenance if they are to last and continue to meet the needs of those who live in them. They need more than a welcome mat if they are to be truly open to new members. And the idea of home itself needs flexibility when home is not a safe or stable place for everyone. Since this year’s ACA conference will take place virtually from wherever your home may be in June 2021, we ask you to reflect on the improvements we must make to our many homes.

  • How can we build, improve, and maintain our institutional, professional, and personal homes to continue to meet the crucial needs of the present? 
  • What concepts and practices in memory work need maintenance or renovation? 
  • What should we tear down to make room for the new, and what should the new look like?
  • How can our homes be safer and more accessible, affordable, and welcoming?

Suggested topics:

  • Diversity, inclusion and community engagement initiatives, especially anti-racist work and projects contributing to decolonization, Indigenization and reconciliation
  • Activism, advocacy and outreach
  • Shifts in services, practices and priorities in response to the pandemic
  • Access and description renewal projects
  • Case studies in appraisal and deaccessioning
  • Working with (and beyond) legacy concepts, standards, procedures and systems
  • Institutional and professional responses to climate change
  • Building, maintaining and sustaining new workflows, methods and tools, especially for digital archives and digitization
  • Teaching and learning with archives online
  • The roles of emotion, empathy, and trauma in archival work
  • Issues of sustainability and precarity in the archival labour force
See this call as an infographic!


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