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ACA 2021 Conference: An Interview with Sofie Tsatas

7 Jun 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous member

ACA 2021 Virtual Conference - June 7-11, 2021

[Dark blue and red banner of the ACA Virtual Conference 2021 - Home Improvement. Featuring drawings of a house, a hammer, a nail, a construction barrier, and a ruler]

The ACA 2021 Annual conference is right around the corner! In the Field: The ACA blog is featuring the profile of a few members who will be presenting at the conference, June 7-11, 2021. Today we are featuring the profile of Sofie Tsatas, MA student in Information Studies at McGill University.

Can you tell us your school and program of study?
I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Information Studies at McGill University.

What is your presentation about?
My presentation, which is titled “Decolonized Listening in the Archive: a Study of how a Reconstruction of Archival Spaces and Processes can Contribute to Decolonizing Narratives and Listening,” looks at ways in which we can decolonize archival practices and spaces, and how that would impact musical records created by Indigenous artists. My research draws upon the book Hungry Listening by Dylan Robinson, as well as the art and musical exhibit Soundings (2019-2021), curated by both Robinson and Candice Hopkins, which focuses on the question “how can a score be a call and tool for decolonization?” From 2018-2020 I did a Master’s degree in Musicology at the University of British Columbia and I wrote my thesis on the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Cree musician. Writing this thesis resulted in a lot of much needed reflection regarding my role as a settler and uninvited guest residing on Turtle Island (North America) and I realized that I wanted to continue working towards decolonizing efforts in my current degree, particularly regarding musical records. While there is still much for me to learn, this research has been very rewarding!

What brought you to the field of archival studies and/or practice? 
I’ve always loved information, and while my music history degree seemed like a good fit at the time to satisfy my need for musical research and analysis, I realized that working more closely with particular historical records and documents was much more suited for me. I remember once reading personal letters from the composer Clara Schumann (1819-1896) addressed to her husband Robert for a school project a few years ago, and how amazing it felt to sit with these records and read something so intimate of someone I never knew. As an archivist, I can do this every day!

What kinds of archival futures are you invested in? Where do you see change happening? What changes are needed? Where do you hope the profession will be in 10 years? 
I’m interested in continuing work and research in decolonizing archival practices and spaces. I would love to work in community and participatory-based archives with Indigenous Nations, focusing on musical records. Through this research I’ve learnt that there are some amazing platforms out there that are Indigenous-led and based in Indigenous notions of stewardship and record-keeping that are still not yet implemented in many archives. I want to help implement these systems and I think that in doing so, the role of the archivist will change in some ways.

Are there any other sessions at the conference that you’re excited to attend? 

I am especially interested in the “Creating Trust and Transparency: Building Trauma-Informed Archives” Forum and the “Stories We Tell: Narratives of Inclusion” Session!  Everything looks so amazing and I’m excited to hear some of my friends and professors speak as well! Like Isabel, I am new to the field so I am also looking forward to the virtual meetup.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Fun fact about me: I manage a Bookstagram account (Instagram for books!) called @readingwithsof because I love to read! It is also the most welcoming online community I’ve ever been a part of and I am so happy to be able to share and talk about books in a safe space! 

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