Sarah Quigley and Natalie Baur, 2022 SAA Program Committee Co-Chairs
The Program Committee is excited to invite you to the 86th annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA)—our first hybrid conference—to be held August 25–27, 2022. We’re planning an exciting program for ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2022 with educational sessions, keynotes, and activities offered both onsite and virtually. There will be something of interest for every attendee, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to engage members in multiple formats.
This year, the call for proposals asked you to reflect on confronting change and planning for the future. How can we apply all the lessons we’ve learned, especially in the past two years, to create a more inclusive, more creative, and more nimble future? We hope a new conference environment that combines in-person and virtual elements will be both an embodiment of and a framework for discussing these questions.
Virtual and In-Person Elements
The Program Committee has put together a slate of thoughtful and engaging sessions, ranging from traditional panels to special focus sessions and mini-workshops. At our meeting in February, we reviewed more than one hundred proposals for sessions and posters, and we chose those that demonstrated a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion, could easily be presented in-person or virtually, and addressed the themes outlined in the call for proposals. We’re looking forward to a robust schedule of speakers on the following topics, among others:
- Managing the change process,
- Strategic planning and long-term goal setting,
- Operationalizing big-picture ideas,
- Archival labor and management,
- Sustainability and the effects of climate change,
- Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as core functions of our work, and
- Implementing lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic in our work environments.
The schedule will look different this year in order to accommodate a hybrid format. Each time-slot will offer four concurrent options:
- one in-person session that will be livestreamed for a virtual audience,
- one livestreamed virtual session that will also be accessible on-site at the conference location, and
- two fully in-person sessions.
All sessions will be recorded and available to attendees after the conference. Conversation lounges will allow for virtual opportunities to connect and network. The virtual elements of the conference will be hosted on the Pathable platform, which will be familiar to those who attended the 2021 meeting.
For the in-person component of the conference, we return to Boston, Massachusetts (we were last there in 2004). We’re looking forward to a live exhibit hall (in addition to virtual options for connecting with exhibitors) and beloved evening activities, such as Archives in the Movies. SAA staff and the 2022 Host Committee are working to balance fewer educational sessions with more in-person opportunities for conversation and connection with colleagues.
The constant uncertainty of the past two years and the ongoing requirement to pivot and reassess every few months has changed the fabric of our profession. We have discovered new ways to do our work and engage our communities. At the same time, we are confronting an exodus of librarians and archivists from the profession as a result of long-term systemic racism and poor labor practices that plague our organizations. We are also grappling with local and state “divisive concepts” laws and book bans that put some of our colleagues at risk. Amid war and violence in Europe and the Middle East, ongoing upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fallout from political unrest in the United States, our personal and professional lives are imbued with confusion and complexity. For some, this is unprecedented in our lifetimes; for others, these are unfortunately familiar concerns.
With this as our context, we will gather together—some of us in person for the first time in two years. We have an opportunity in this gathering to do what archivists do best: appraise where we’ve been and where we are, acquire skills that can help us bring change to our institutions and the profession, organize ourselves and our colleagues, and guide each other through ambiguity and anxiety into the future.
Come Join Us!
The Program Committee and SAA staff are working to make ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2022 a safer space for difficult conversations. A hybrid conference will allow the meeting to be more inclusive and ensure the participation of multiple voices and perspectives. And we hope that this year will serve as a model for future meetings.
SAA 2022 truly will offer something for everyone in a most urgent time for our profession. We invite you to join us as we explore some of the toughest questions facing our field and to imagine new paths. For more information and to register, visit: https://www2.archivists.org/am2022.
Published in May/June 2022 Archival Outlook
SAA Thanks the ARCHIVES * RECORDS 2022 Program Committee!
- Natalie Baur, Co-Chair, Pratt Institute, School of Information
- Sarah Quigley, Co-Chair, Emory University
- April Anderson-Zorn, Illinois State University
- Marci Bayer, National Archives at College Park
- Jolene Beiser, University of California, Irvine Special Collections & Archives
- Emily Jones
- Daria Labinsky, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado
- Kahlee Leingang
- Lindy Leong, Association of Moving Image Archivists
- Sheila McAlister, University of Georgia Libraries
- Ashley Williams, Hagley Museum and Library