ICYMI: Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting

Our ICYMI series provide summaries of presentations, publications, webinars, and other educational opportunities that are of interest to I&A members. If you have an issue you would like to write about for this blog series or a previous post that you would like to respond to, please email archivesissues@gmail.com. The following is from Rachel Mandell, I&A’s past-chair and Metadata Librarian at the USC Digital Library.

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Last month I attended the Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting, which was held in Long Beach, California from April 24-27, 2019. I found much of the program to be of interest to our Issues & Advocacy members as many of the presentations and events were focused on inclusivity and diversity. The reception for the event was held on the Queen Mary ocean liner, which was fun for archivists and ghosts alike.

        One of the highlights of the conference was Michelle Caswell’s plenary discussing a feminist standpoint appraisal of archival materials. She argued that instead of continuing to allow historically dominant perspectives of what should, and should not, be considered of significant archival value, we ought to adopt a new way of appraising archival materials. The historically dominant perspective– which favors white, English-speaking, straight, men—continues to dominate when archivists from oppressed communities are left out of appraisal discussions and policies. What is even more likely than archivists from the underrepresented or oppressed perspectives being left out of the conversation, is archivists’ attempt to achieve a “value neutral” view of archival materials. Professor Caswell completely dismantles this belief that neutrality can be achieved and adds that this goal of neutrality in fact reinforces the current, oppressive structure.  Boom! I am so inspired to read forthcoming publications and eventually put into practice a new set of questions that we need to ask ourselves when conducting archival appraisal.

        Another exciting event that I want to highlight was the Labor Brown Bag lunch! In the last year, Issues and Advocacy has been very focused on labor issues faced by archivists. SCA is also joining the conversation! This brown bag lunch was an informal discussion and brainstorming session about forming a new SCA working group to monitor and address ongoing labor issues.

        Other talks related to inclusivity and diversity included:

“Building Belonging: Strategies for Diverse and Inclusive Collection Development, Inreach, Outreach, and Instruction”     
Zayda Delgao, Sonoma County Library
Robin M. Katz, University of California, Riverside
Craig Simpson, Son Jose State University

“Putting it Out There: Engaging Communities and Enhancing Access to LGBT Collections”

“Campfire: Practicing Inclusive Archival Description”
Noah Geraci, University of California, Riverside
Cyndi Shein, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

“Empowering Indigenous Communities through Inclusion”
Kelsey Martin
Stefani Baldivia, California State University, Chico
Celestina Castillo, Occidental College
Lylliam Posadas

“No Reprocessing Without Representation! Discovering Hidden Narratives During Routine Work”
Linh Gavin Do, Go For Broke National Education Center
Jamie Henricks, Japanese American National Museum
Lauren Longwell, Loyola Marymount University
Kate Wilson, Saint Mary’s College of California

Leave a Reply (Note: The Issues & Advocacy Roundtable is committed to providing a welcoming environment for everyone who participates in its online spaces. All comments must honor the SAA Code of Conduct: http://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-code-of-conduct.)

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