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UnSettled: Redefining Archival Power  

Archives are changing and transforming!    

Archives are repositories that help shape public and community memory. Traditional archival theory has upheld control of the historical record by colonial institutions, western perspectives, and whiteness. This power has been used to marginalize, other, undervalue, and erase diversity within the archive and public memory. As a result, colonial institutions have perpetuated their own biases against non-western worldviews to mobilize public memory in support of ongoing colonization.   

Today, archives are used to empower, fill gaps, educate, and celebrate the voices and perspectives of those traditionally barred from this work. Transformative practice allows us to rethink traditional western theory, forge a path of solidarity, and uphold our work based on collective values in regards to archival work. The power of archives and memory keeping is evolving into something new. UnSettled hopes to shine a spotlight on the many ways the profession is redefining archives and archival work.  

We welcome proposals in all formats, consider: individual traditional papers, panel sessions, full sessions, round-tables, or feel free to suggest something new!  We encourage participation from all individuals and organizations involved in memory work, including students, new professionals and community archivists.  Our goal is to hear from a variety of perspectives.    

Suggested Topics:    

  • Implementation of TRC Calls to Action, Reconciliation, BLM, #MeToo, Idle No More, Stop Asian Hate, etc. 
  • Archives actively taking a stance on anti-racist, feminist, decolonial practices and confronting systemic injustices  
  • Examples of community engagement related to diverse structures of organizing archives (e.g., grassroots and community-led archives, published history initiatives, memoir writing, oral history projects, etc.) 
  • Archives embracing ways of knowing that are new to western archival theory (e.g., culturally appropriate memory keeping) 
  • Archivists who have faced institutional barriers  
  • Data Sovereignty 
  • Re-examinations of archival education and/or theory 
  • How archival practices are continuing, growing, adapting, or reframing to work within new paradigms 

FORMAT: To facilitate broader access, ACA 2022 will be a hybrid conference with sessions offered in-person (according to public health guidelines), as well as online.


Use the “Call for Submissions” button on the ACA website at or by using this form here.

The deadline for these proposals is: October 31, 2021 end of day PT


A separate call for workshop proposals will be sent out with the opportunity to facilitate professional development in advance of the conference, during the conference and following the conference. 

Note: Please be advised there will be an additional Call for Student Papers as well as a Call for Posters later this year, with submission deadlines early in 2022.  Those papers selected for the new voices (student session) will be eligible for funding.

Please feel free to direct questions to:  

Krisztina Laszlo

Chair, ACA 2022 Conference Program Team



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The Association of Canadian Archivists recognizes that equity is critical to developing a talented, capable and supportive profession. We are committed to creating an environment, both within the ACA and the broader archives and recordkeeping profession, that attracts, develops and retains individuals that better reflect the communities we serve. Please see hereto read more about the work being undertaken to make all activities of the Association more accessible and equitable.

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