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Association of Canadian Archivists

CFP: 2018 Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) Annual Conference

July 1, 2017

The Association of Canadian Archivists is pleased to announce its call for proposals for the 2018 ACA Annual Conference to be held in Edmonton, Alberta from June 7-9, 2018.  The theme of the conference will be “Truths, Trust and Technology.”

The deadline for submission of proposals will be October 1, 2017.

The 2018 ACA Conference will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, at the Chateau Lacombe. It will engage with the theme truths, trust and technology. The truth – whatever that is – is messy these days. In the “post-truth” era, lies can seem more convincing than facts, and in an era of discourse on decolonization, Canadians are reflecting on new truths about historical facts. “Truths” become “lies” depending on context and interpretative lens. The very existence of facts may even be open to question. Contributing to the messy truth is technology.  Social media propagates “click bait” and state sponsored misinformation as news. Politicians use instant messaging apps to avoid public accountability. Cloud technology continues to create confusion about ownership and integrity of records. Cybersecurity risks are on the rise. Black boxed algorithms parse personal information, generating models that predict human behaviour. Big data becomes bigger.  These technical infrastructures – social media, cloud technology, algorithms and others – that gather, store and analyze data have become increasingly complex, often invisible, and hidden infrastructures. Archivists are challenged to understand them and to preserve and provide access to records created or stored in them.

At the same time, archivists are embracing technology to preserve digital records; to visualize the archival world; to engage more meaningfully with the public; to rescue records threated by government policy changes or conflict, and to empower non-dominant ways of knowing. Digital technologies enable remote use of archival holdings, while linked data and other semantic technologies allow diverse and contested record sets to be brought into conversation and made whole, analyzed and visualized anew. Social functionalities, participatory archiving and digital annotations allow the same records to tell many stories. Clouds and blockchains offer new approaches to record keeping and digital preservation that may transform traditional approaches to the performance of archival functions. Amidst this technological and social backdrop, we can be certain that archivists must sustain their role as trusted custodians of the historical record. How might archives and archivists need to adapt? What new approaches, competencies and skills will be needed? How can archivists help people to realize the enriched insights into historical truths that knowledge of context and provenance offers?  Where does “truth” lie for archives and for humanity?

The 2018 ACA Program Committee invites proposals for papers, panels, debates, lightening talks, and mini-workshops, relating to all areas of archival theory and practice that focus on technology: its impact upon records creation, preservation and access and the implications of technology for archival institutions, performance of archival functions, the archival profession, and archives’ place in society. Proposals may address the following:

  • Reinterpretations of records and archival theory in relation to digital media
  • Archival decolonization, indigenization and technology
  • Preserving social media, cloud, web and other technologies
  • Arrangement and description in the digital era
  • Tracing provenance in complex and complicated infrastructures
  • Issues of access, openness, and institutional transparency and the impact of technology
  • New approaches to conducting historical research using archival sources
  • Using technology to engage the public and communicate the archives
  • Privacy, personal information and technology, and its effect on archival theory and practice
  • The role of technical knowledge and skills in archival education and professional practice


Click Here to submit your proposal

The Call for Session Submissions deadline is October 1, 2017

For tips and pointers on how to prepare proposals and a general overview of the conference program development process, click here.

Please direct any questions to:

Victoria Lemieux
Chair, ACA 2017 Conference Program Team 


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