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IAW2023: Community Outreach of the Saskatchewan Council for Archives & Archivists in 2022-23

8 Jun 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

by Cameron Hart

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.

In 2022-23, despite continuing challenges, SCAA continued to show our commitment to refining and improving our services for all our members, which include individuals and institutions from across the heritage field. The inclusion of several Working Groups to the Boards this past year reflects this commitment.

The Indigenous Working Group replaced the Diversity Working Group, which involves Indigenous members to steer the group, and the chair acts more as a support role in providing resources. A mandate for the working group is still being worked on. Initiatives are in place to encourage new First Nations/Metis organizations to join SCAA, including the continuation of the waiver of institutional membership fees. Future initiatives around examining archival practices, particularly those regarding outdated language used in archival description, are another of their priorities, along with connecting with the Council of Nova Scotia Archives to discuss their Reconciliation framework, particularly their environmental scan of membership. An SCAA Board Member is a co-chair of the “Response to the Report of the TRC Commission Taskforce” of the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives in response to Call to Action #70. The framework document was released in 2022.

The Revenue Working Group was part of SCAA’s 2020-24 Strategic Plan. A group was formed to investigate other forms of self-generated revenue, so as not to wholly rely on the generous funding of the SaskLotteries/SaskCulture, which is approved through the 2023-24 fiscal year. The group is reviewing membership dues and will look to include a variable institutional scale as well as introduce a retired/student/non-salaried category. Another potential source is the publication of one of SCAA’s public awareness projects, the Unforgettable: Extraordinary Items from Saskatchewan’s Archival Collections book project. This coffee-table book includes articles by archivists and researchers along with photographs of items found in Saskatchewan’s archival collections.

As work continues with the MemorySask database, a MemorySask Working Group is being established and they will review and refine policies and procedures to make MemorySask a more powerful tool to research portions of the Saskatchewan history and culture.

Our Archives Advisor has been limited in site visits due to the pandemic, but the Advisor has begun to travel again, and the addition of Zoom videoconferencing has enabled them to hold many of these meetings virtually. Their activities go beyond site visits, though, and the following is a sample.

Archives Week is an annual event held by SCAA. Activities in February 2023 saw the return of in-person events for many members, and so saw the return of the Archives Week grant program. Institutions holding Open Houses, exhibits, workshops, etc. could again get small grants from SCAA to promote and support their events. SCAA continued to help create YouTube videos to help institutions promote themselves.

The administration of our Institutional Grants Program saw 18 applications submitted from SCAA member institutions this year. These included requests for preservation, digitization, and general archival work, but also support for projects to help make archival collections more accessible to the public. After adjudications a total of just over $38,000 was distributed to institutions.

SCAA’s Professional Development and Travel Subsidies saw individual members supported to attend virtual workshops, conferences, webinars, or other educational offerings.

The SCAA facilitates and encourages learning in the archival field by offering Educational Workshops and presentations throughout the year. In addition to basic archival practice presentations by our Advisor, additional subjects of interest were presented by experts in the field. The workshops and presentations this past year included:

  • A presentation about “Reconciliation through the Treaty Relationship” by Annie Battiste of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.
  • A webinar was led by Lisa Snider (consultant) for institutions contributing to the MemorySask database.
  • A multiday workshop on preservation of physical material was presented by Iona McCraith, former AAO Preservation Consultant.

The SCAA Board of Directors in 2022-23 is:

President: Mark Vajčner, retired University of Regina, Archive & Special Collections

Vice-President: Donald Johnson, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Treasurer: Jeremy Mohr, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Directors: William Shepherd, Swift Current Museum
Stevie Horn, Saskatoon Public Library History Room
Erin Grant, Métis Nation Registry of Saskatchewan
Sheldon Krasowski, Office of the Treaty Commissioner
Crista Bradley, University of Regina, Archive & Special Collections

SCAA is a proud member of SaskCulture, and gratefully acknowledges funding from Sask Lotteries. SaskCulture and SCAA’s support reaches lands covered by Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10; traditional lands of the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Lakota, Nakota and Saulteaux peoples, as well as the homeland of the Métis.

About Cameron Hart: After graduating in history and political science from D'Youville College, in the US, in 1996, he attended UBC's SLAIS (now iSchool) in 1997-99. In 1999 he moved to Saskatchewan on contract, and in 2009 became the full-time Archives Advisor for the SCAA, a position he continues to hold.

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