Contact Us                 Archivaria

Members                  Volunteer

IAW2023: Advocacy Work at the Archives Society of Alberta

6 Jun 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Submitted by ASA’s Advocacy and Outreach committee

In celebration of the International Archives Week theme “#ArchivesUnited,” the ACA Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee has coordinated with Canadian professional archival associations to present a special series of blog posts. This series will run on the ACA blog, In the Field, from June 5-9 and aims to uplift the work of our colleagues across Canada by showcasing new initiatives, providing transparent solutions to key issues, and identifying exciting opportunities for collaboration.

The Archives Society of Alberta (ASA) faced significant funding cuts from the provincial government in the past few years. Our funding cut from Alberta Culture impacted our operating budget and our capacity to support our members. Not only did this impact our staff and direct operations, but we were forced to eliminate project grants to our member institutions, which has a cascading impact on our member’s ability to continue their work.

Prior to this funding cut, the Advocacy and Outreach committee, then called Communications committee, wanted to change its focus. The committee was producing calendars and other activities which did not have the best impact for advocacy and outreach work. We recognized that in order to ensure the long-term stability of the ASA, and to restore our funding, we would need to make sure the public, and even more crucially funders, understood the importance of archives and the services we provided. The committee was unsure of where to start to improve its efforts so sought board approval to seek out an advocacy consultant to help shape our work.

The first step the consultant took was to fully understand the work we do, and what communications strategies we have used previously, to identify the strongest advocacy messaging going forward. They conducted a series of interviews with a sample of our members as well as our funders to learn their perspectives and where they thought improvements could be made. The consultants also looked at the work of other related professional associations, in order to get an environmental scan.

Based on this information, the consultant developed a “Communications and Advocacy Strategy,” a road map, and suggested key messages for the ASA and its members. One of the key components of that plan was to activate and empower all of our member institutions to advocate for archival work in our province, which are the first steps the committee has been taking.

We are working on an advocacy toolkit that will include general information on archives and archivists, information about our association, information for institutions to use, a media pitch and an elevator pitch – elements that members can utilize quickly and easily. We will continue to work ourselves, and with our members, to advocate for the ASA.

For the ASA, we had to start considering advocacy as a solution to the financial cuts we were facing. We know going forward that we need to fight for our organization and profession, and to make the importance of the ASA clear to our communities and our funders. It was an intimidating process to set out on, as in the busy work of archives, communications so often end up being run off the side of someone’s desk rather than being a focus. But for archives to stay relevant and remain a priority in policy and in funding decisions, we will need to start advocating for ourselves, and ensuring that our value is recognized.

Contact Us

Suite 1912-130 Albert Street  

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4

Tel:  613-383-2009


The ACA office is located on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation whose presence here reaches back to time immemorial.

Privacy & Confidentiality  -  Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct

Copyright © 2022 - The Association of Canadian Archivists

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software