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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The following is from Sara Janes, University Archivist for Lakehead University, Ontario.
The 2017 conference of the Archives Association of Ontario was held on the University of Toronto Campus, April 26-28. The theme, “Come Together: Meaningful Collaboration in a Connected World,” felt relevant to the participants as we discussed ways to work with each other and with the public to better support archives and communities across the province.
Focus on decolonization and Indigenous issues
Decolonization and indigenous issues were a significant theme, particularly as archives are beginning to respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and are engaging with Canada 150 celebrations. In one plenary session, Michael Etherington, of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, spoke about those calls to action, and the frequent disconnect between colonial institutions and Indigenous people and communities; in the other, Raymond Frogner, Director of Archives at University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, spoke about the impact of Indigenous thinkers such as George Hunt on archival theory and practices.
Responses to the TRC, engaging with Canada’s colonial past and present, and social justice issues were well represented throughout the conference, and these themes were often tied in with discussions around acquisition, archival management, and digital outreach, as well as working groups formed within various organizations.
Focus on collaboration and partnerships
Other presentations highlighted collaboration and cooperation between institutions. Papers touched on: collaboration for acquisition and collection development, appraisal of government records, sharing resources for digital preservation, teaching courses using archival material, online outreach and collaborative exhibits, and the work of student and young professional organizations. Overall, the program was excellent, and attendees found it difficult to choose between sessions.
Talks were also held on the past, present, and future of the Archives Association of Ontario, giving members a chance to learn more about how this organization has been shaped over the years and its plans for the future. In particular, this included a report on the first year of the Provincial Acquisition Strategy, and feedback on how to continue building cooperation between archival institutions in the province.
The formal side of the conference was supported by a variety of other opportunities for socializing, networking, and learning. Four archives tours were held: to the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and University of Toronto Archives, and the John M. Kelly Library Conservation Studio. The opening reception was held at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, and attendees had many opportunities to catch up with each other during breaks and at pub nights.
The Banquet, held at Hart House, celebrated 20 years of the Archives and Records Management program at the University of Toronto iSchool. The Awards Lunch was held at at the Faculty Club, and honoured Suzanne Dubeau, Nick Ruest, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the Hastings County Historical Society.
Sara Janes is University Archivist for Lakehead University. She has an MLIS from McGill University, and has worked in archives and records management for ten years, with a focus on digital records issues, outreach, and education.