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Association of Canadian Archivists

CFP: 2017 Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) Annual Conference

July 5, 2016

Archives, disrupted

Ottawa, ON
June 8 – 10, 2017

The 2017 ACA Conference will be held in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Not coincidentally, July 1, 2017 will mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and Ottawa will be the center of many commemorative and lively events. Confederation was at once Canada’s celebrated beginning, but it was also disruptive to the people and institutions within and without Canada’s borders. Likewise, the archival endeavor is not immune to disruption, and when confronted with it, archivists and archival institutions may hold fast to their principles and practices; but they may also let go. Is this anarchy? No… it’s archives.

The conference will explore how archivists and archival institutions progress, respond, change and persevere in response to disruptive forces, which may arise from outside or can be self-imposed. How and why is our profession challenging its past and the status quo? At the same time, examining the profession’s past with a presentist lens may distort its future. Conference sessions will explore how the archival endeavor can emerge strengthened and changed from the effects of disruptive forces, and define a new path that is relevant and valuable to its practitioners, institutions, users and stakeholders.

The 2017 ACA Program Committee invites proposals for papers, panels, debates, lightening talks, etc., from all areas of archival theory and practice that focus on the power and effects of disruptive forces on the profession, and particularly how this may strengthen archivists and archival institutions to be better. Proposals may address the following:

  • How does the archival community challenge its past practices and methods for the benefit of their work, their users, their stakeholders, and others?
  • How do issues of access, openness, and institutional transparency challenge the status quo?
  • How can disruptive forces advance and improve our ideas on custody and provenance?
  • Are archivists disrupters? Are they activists? Should they be? How do they reconcile their support for the societal good with the obligation to employers? Who decides what constitutes the “societal good”?
  • How do archivists break their own rules and standards? What effect does this have on their records, users, donors, employers, systems, etc.?
  • Are other allied professions affected by the strength or movements of the archives and records management profession? How is the archival profession affected by theirs?
  • Technology is disruptive, yes. But does technology and the development of software to support archives reinforce the status quo of archival practice?
  • How do changes to legislation transform our profession?

Submitting Proposals

Use the “Call for Submission” link on the ACA website or,

  • Make an individual submission (e.g., paper)
  • Make a full session or workshop submission

The Call for Submissions deadline is October 2, 2016.

Complete session proposals are most welcome, but individual paper proposals will also be considered and if accepted, slotted into appropriate sessions. Sessions are usually 1-1.5 hours. Proposals can be either practical or theoretical, in a variety of formats including:

  1. Traditional session: formal presentation of papers; approximately 20 minutes per speaker, with questions to follow as time allows.
  2. Panel discussion: abbreviated presentation of papers; approximately 10-15 minutes per speaker, with discussion to follow.
  3. Roundtable: brief 5-7 minute presentations with open discussion.
  4. Focused Debate on a specific topic: brief presentations with open discussion & debate to follow.

Workshop Proposals are submitted using the Full Session submission web form; these submissions will be forwarded to the Professional Learning Committee, which will make its decisions in November.

Workshop is defined as a full 1-day or 2-day event, generally combining presentations, group discussions and hands-on activities for a group of about 25 – 30 participants. Workshops can cover any topic/subject, and may not be related directly to the conference theme.

  • Make a workshop submission

Student Papers and Posters: There will be a Call for Student Papers as well as a Call for Posters later this year, with submission deadlines in January 2017.

Please direct any questions to:

April Miller
Chair, ACA 2017 Conference Program Team


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