Terry Baxter 2017-01-12 11:38:41
We are less than seven months away from alike/different, SAA’s 2017 Annual Meeting, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland from July 23 to July 29. While that may still seem like a long way off, the program committee has already been working hard to ensure that the program content will be challenging, informative, and—in the spirit of the “Principles and Priorities for Continuously Improving the SAA Annual Meeting”—creative and innovative. While the 2017 Annual Meeting includes new approaches to education content, it also continues traditional and recently developed processes. A call for proposals for education sessions and posters went out in September and closed in November 2016. A total of 160 session proposals and 36 poster proposals were received. The program committee is evaluating these proposals to determine which of them will be presented in July. The process is competitive—only about a third of the session proposals will be selected. The 2017 program committee has also continued recent innovations. Pop-up sessions, first introduced in 2015 at the Cleveland meeting, will be called for in early 2017. Pop-up sessions allow for proposals discussing timely topics or issues and for members to vote for the ones they prefer. The committee also created a Google spreadsheet as an informal tool to connect individuals seeking ideas or collaboration on session proposals for the 2017 Annual Meeting. This idea was introduced for the 2016 Atlanta meeting and has received positive feedback the last two years. One thing that is new for the 2017 Annual Meeting will be The Liberated Archives: A Forum for Envisioning and Implementing a Community-Based Approach to Archives. Held all day on Saturday, July 29, the purpose of The Liberated Archives is to convene community members, organizers, activists, archivists, and professional allies to engage with each other as equal partners in the pursuit of justice, freedom, and liberation work. A subcommittee has developed a concept and structure to guide the forum, working with the program committee to refine the design of the forum. A special call for proposals will be issued in mid-January 2017 for forum content. The intended result of all of this work—by the committee members, SAA staff, the folks who proposed sessions and posters, and community members in Portland—is an education program that will have something useful for as many attendees as possible. alike/different will have an arc. The sessions on Thursday and Friday provide practical, theoretical, and social knowledge that will build toward direct engagement with communities and their archives’ needs on Saturday. The program committee is committed to using alike/different both to challenge and to enrich the lives of archivists and the people they work with. We can’t wait to see you all in Portland this summer!
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