News & Events

Call for Proposals - September 18.2013


Facing Risks, Taking Risks: Turning Archival Threats into Opportunities

May 22 – 24, 2014

Lobstick Lodge, Jasper AB

Keynote Speaker: Laura Millar

The archival stereotype is of an environment – and a person – removed from the present day. Archival materials are dusty and brittle, archivists are mousy brown, and repositories are tucked in the back corner – down long halls, in basements or attics, and far from the “real world.” In truth, though, archives are the essence of a society’s memory, and archivists are the protectors of that vital documentary evidence. But archives and archivists face daily risks that imperil the defense of those irreplaceable documentary resources, not just from environmental hazards but also because this misunderstanding of our professional role which marginalizes our critically important archival efforts.

When people talk about risk, it is easy to think first of threats such as the 2011 Slave Lake Fire, the 2013 Calgary Flood, or other environmental disasters. But other threats may be less obvious but even more threatening to the future of archives and archival institutions: inadequate funding for archival functions; lack of control over management decisions that affect records and archives; an inadequate policy framework that opens the door to inadvertent, or malicious mishandling of records; poor public awareness of the role and importance of archives and archivists. These risks can have devastating consequences for the sustainability of archival operations.

For the 2014 ASA Conference, we wish to explore various threats that archival institutions and archival practitioners experience. We welcome proposals that could include but are not limited to topics such as:

The dichotomy between the stereotype of archives and the reality of archival work
The relationship between records management and archival management and how to eliminate the idea of “records” versus “archives”
The support or lack thereof of archives’ sponsor agencies
Risks associated with archival appraisal
Reducing the threat of privacy and confidentiality breaches while still providing access to archives
The risk of continuous, unpredictable technological change
The importance of training and education to help archivists achieve success, and the dangers of inadequate access to learning opportunities
Coping with the threat of theft or damage to archives


We are interested in what inventive risk management approaches archives have implemented or attempted and how archivists turn various threats they face in their institutions into opportunities for growth and change.

***The deadline for submitting conference proposals is Thursday, October 31, 2013.***

Please send your abstracts, 250 words or less, to or 407-10408 124 St NW, Edmonton, AB, T5N 1R5.