Midwest Archives Conference Call for Session Proposals: Chicago 2018

The Midwest Archives Conference will hold its 2018 Annual Meeting March 21-24, 2018, at the Doubletree Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The Program Committee invites session proposals on all areas of archival practice and research and from allied fields. We are especially interested in proposals that align with the 2018 theme, “Blurring Boundaries, Crossing Lines.”

Chicago has historically served as a transition area between different types of boundaries: from rural, urban, and suburban landscapes, between land and lake, as a leader in the evolution of transportation, as a home to built forms that encompass traditional and modern architecture, and even from East to West. For MAC 2018 we call archivists to a place whose official city motto itself, “city in a garden” (Urbs in Horto), invites an exploration of contradictions and contrasts.

Session Proposals

We seek proposals that explore ways in which boundaries and borders around and within archival work are blurring, transitioning, and transforming:

  • Blurring boundaries
    • between archival work and related work (data management, records management, digital humanities, etc.)
    • between archivists’ professional responsibilities and social responsibilities
    • between what you were hired to do and what your job has become.
  • Exploring transitions
    • between the types of documentation of political movements
    • between different careers and career stages.
  • Breaking down borders
    • between professional archives and community archives
    • between archivists and allied professions
    • between different groups in the community or society.
  • Transforming organizations
    • when mergers of departments or organizations have led to unforeseen consequences
    • when organizations determine they need an archives or records management program
    • when new duties have forced archivists to develop creative solutions.
  • Transforming archives
    • when past collection development reflected a dominant culture or status quo
    • when technological changes have expanded possibilities
    • when you have discovered a new, better way to do something at work.

In addition we welcome proposals that take an archival approach to local and regional Midwestern historical events that embody a spirit of resistance, which may be inspired by Chicago’s diverse racial and ethnic communities, social movements, and confluence of local, state, and federal politics and policy. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, with its riots, tear gas, and “Chicago 8” trial, and we encourage proposals that offer new insights into protest documentation–whether in Chicago or elsewhere in the Midwest.

The deadline for session proposals is Tuesday, August 22, at 5 p.m. Central Time. A separate call for poster proposals will go out later in the year.


Possible Session Types

  • Standard Presentations: Two to four speakers present on a common theme. May include a moderator to steer discussion and/or introduce speakers and theme.
  • Open Forum: Topical discussion with moderator leading discussion with everyone present. May include additional moderator(s) to direct breakout conversations.
  • Roundtable Discussion: Three or four participants make very brief remarks, then discuss a topic together. Includes a moderator to steer discussion.
  • PechaKucha: Each presentation consists of 20 slides or images displayed for 20 seconds each, with comment. Each presentation lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Lightning Talks: Like PechaKucha, but without a set format. May or may not include slides or images. Presentations may be from 3 to 10 minutes long, with the time allotted depending on the number of presenters.
  • Debate: Moderator announces the topic, and two other people debate. May include more than one topic and additional debaters.

Speaker Representation

The Program Committee seeks a diverse slate of presenters representing a variety of personal and institutional backgrounds, perspectives, and voices. We seek to foster a culture of inclusion in the MAC program and encourage submissions from anyone who is interested in presenting, including students, new professionals, first-time presenters, and those from allied professions.

To facilitate collaboration among those brainstorming session ideas, the Program Committee encourages use of the MAC Facebook page and the spreadsheet for brainstorming session proposal ideas.

Proposal Evaluation

The Program Committee will evaluate all proposals submitted by the deadline using the following criteria:

  • Merit and clarity of the 250-word abstract;
  • Completeness of the proposal, particularly having well-developed content and sufficient speakers to address all relevant aspects of the topic;
  • Originality of proposed topic;
  • Diversity of the content and speaker representation;
  • Appropriateness of proposed format with session content; and
  • Completeness of proposal and presenters.

All proposals will be considered in the context of the overall structure of the meeting and availability of time slots for proposed sessions.

When submitting proposals, please have ready a session title, 250-word abstract, names and contact information for all speakers, the type of session format being proposed, and any A/V or special consideration requests for your session.

All individuals involved in an accepted proposal must sign a presenter agreement.

Proposal Submission

The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2018 MAC Annual Meeting is Tuesday, August 22, at 5 p.m. CDT. Use the CFP form to submit your proposal.

If you have any questions about the proposal process, please contact the 2018 Program Committee co-chairs, Daria Labinsky and Eira Tansey.

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