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Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists

July 22, 2023 @ 8:00 am - July 29, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Our worlds, and our profession, have been reshaped not just by ongoing public health crises, but by racial and gender violence, climate disasters, political stratification, and economic upheavals. In many ways we cannot return to what was before, and perhaps—in some ways—we should not desire this return. As we reflect on the reshaping of our lives and work, we are called to ask: what are we building together? In refusing to accept the “new norm,” how can we envision our profession differently? How can the shifts in archives—not just over the last two years, but over the last decade—make space for us to examine and radically redefine our approaches to infrastructure, labor, and sustainability (both in terms of archival work, but also in terms of sustaining our own well-being)? We need one another now more than ever.

Commons are understood to be natural, cultural, or informational resources accessible by all members of a society. In many cases, these commons are also governed or managed by their users. While the practice originates historically as the holding of communal land, we want to explore the ways in which archives, and archival work, can be viewed as a form of commons. In a profession that has become increasingly specialized, the theme of this year’s conference asks us to consider the ways in which our work as archivists may be distinct, yet intertwined—with one another, with the communities with whom we collaborate, and with allied and adjacent professional fields. Where are these places of overlap, intersection, mutuality, and relation? How do we, or can we, define our work as relational? This year’s conference seeks to amplify work that is cooperative, collective, and interdependent. What is common in our work, and how do we shift our work toward cooperation and the commons?

The Program Committee encourages proposals that speak to the following conference themes. Please note that proposals do not have to fit into these themes to be considered:

– Archives and records as commons, e.g., approaches to access, governance, and maintenance; questions of ownership and property; open records legislation and policy
– Commonalities across archival work and partnerships that build on those commonalities, such as partnerships between governmental and private or community entities
– The role of archival work in maintaining the commons, including water, land, and other natural resources
– Development and management of shared systems and infrastructure
– Care, care work, and mutual aid; nurturing relationships of reciprocity
– Labor equity and collective labor
– The commons as a practice; unsettling the commons and decolonial approaches toward liberatory archival work.

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July 22, 2023 @ 8:00 am
July 29, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
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