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Unsettled: Redefining Archival Power: An Interview with Michael Marlatt (he/him)

6 Jun 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

The ACA 2022 Annual Conference is approaching fast! The ACA blog, In the Field, is featuring the profiles of a few conference presenters. This post features Michael Marlatt, Film Archivist and current PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University. 

Q: What is the title of your conference presentation?

Michael: I am hosting the Accessibility Forum.

Q: Can you walk us through your academic and professional path?

Michael: I am a trained film archivist who graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University’s Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA program five years ago. I am currently working on my dissertation, which looks at the lived experience of students/alumni of moving image archival education programs in North America who identify as having a disability or chronic illness, or are neurodivergent. I’ve worked on preservation projects in the past with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Canadian Filmmaker’s Distribution Centre (CFMDC), Archive/Counter-Archive, and other organizations. I also serve on various committees for the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).

Q: What brought you to the field of archival studies and practice?

Michael: The interest came from my previous experience working for arts organizations, particularly film festivals. I have been a fan of film history for as long as I can remember and was curious about how film materials were preserved. I have since become just as interested in the experiences of the archivists who care for that film material.

Q: What does the theme of the ACA 2022 conference, “Unsettled: Redefining Archival Power,” mean to you in terms of overall archival orientations and practice?

Michael: The theme of this year’s conference makes me think about the role that identity can play in working within an archival institution. I’m of the mindset that diverse representation is needed not only in community archives but institutional ones as well. This extends to upper-level management positions. Hopefully, the conference can be a place for such discussion.

Q: Can you tell us about your research approach and perspectives?

Michael: The work I often do involves interviewing people about their experiences in archival education and their careers post-graduation. My role at this year’s conference is less of a formal presentation and more so hosting a safe space for conference attendees who identify as having a disability, chronic illness, or who are neurodivergent to share thoughts and experiences in the field. I try to bring themes related to disability studies to the moving image archive.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

Michael: As someone with epilepsy and a history of working with film, I’m interested in hearing other archivists’ experiences. I’m excited to get a chance to support others who may have always wanted to share these experiences but never knew how. These conversations have the opportunity to examine our profession, perhaps even leading to a reflection of the resources and support that ACA currently provides.

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn. 

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