NEA taking the past into the future

NEA Spring 2020 Meeting Call for Proposals - Extended to 9/25

2019-08-29 10:42 AM | Michelle Chiles

Inside & Outside

New England Archivists (NEA) invites submissions of session proposals for our Spring Meeting, to be held April 2-4, 2020, in Providence, Rhode Island.

The deadline for proposals is extended to September 25, 2019.

The Spring 2020 Meeting’s theme, Inside & Outside, will explore ideas of inclusion and exclusion in our collections, audiences, and workforce. We will consider the intersection of the individual and the institution, as well as the role of archivists in the context of the cultural, educational, and corporate institutions in which we work. Two decades into the twenty-first century, what does it mean to be an archivist?

We are a group that comprises many identities: professionals, amateurs, experts, artists, educators, students, and community organizers. The roles we have are multifaceted, whether we work within a traditional institutional context or perform archival tasks for related professions and organizations, such as libraries, museums, galleries, corporations, and nonprofits. Moreover, our roles continuously evolve as our world changes. While static definitions and boundaries will only hold us back, we still need to maintain shared values and standards that help us perform the core tasks of our jobs: acquisition, preservation, and providing access to our collections.

This meeting offers us a chance to come together to look within, reflect, and share our experiences not only with our archives community but also with those who are affected by our work.

The Spring 2020 Program Committee invites proposals on all topics but is especially interested in the following:

     How can we protect our collections from outside forces, such as climate and politics?
What does it feel like to be outside of the profession looking in from related fields, and what is it like looking out from inside? What do we borrow from others?
In what ways has the shift from analog to digital required us to reconsider traditional workflows?
How do our labor practices promote or discourage inclusion?
When should collections not go to a repository? What is the role of community archives?
How has social media impacted our profession? And how do we incorporate it into our collections?
What outside forces shape outsiders’ perception of the profession, and how do we use those perceptions as a route to engagement?
How do we continue to act as guides for researchers, stakeholders, the public, and new audiences whose understanding of what an archive is may be at odds with our own definitions? What is our role in guiding users who only interact with our collections online?
Who and what are excluded, and how do we become more inclusive, with regard to who is in the profession, the audiences we reach, and how we acquire and describe material?
How do we care for ourselves when collections contain challenging topics?
Can we imagine who/what might be "inside/outside" the archives 20 years from now?

First-time presenters, current graduate students, and early-career professionals are encouraged to apply.  

Possible Session Types

Standard Presentations
Two or three 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 in attendance. 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.

Each presentation consists of 20 slides or images displayed for 20 seconds each, with comment, and lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Highest number of presenters possible is 12, fewer if leaving time for questions.

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 number of presenters depending on time allotted for each.

Moderator announces the topic, and two other people debate.

Note: standard AV (a projector and screen) will be provided for each session. Presenters are expected to provide a laptop for connecting to the projector, as well as any additional audiovisual equipment needs.



To facilitate collaboration, the Spring 2020 Program Committee has created a space for NEA members to develop session proposals together:

Please use this space to connect with your colleagues about potential session topics and formats. This collaborative space will be accessible until the deadline for proposals, September 20, 2020.


Proposal Submission

To submit a proposal, complete the form below.

Please note that proposed sessions involving fewer than three presenters and/or covering overlapping topics may be grouped together.

All submissions will be acknowledged by the Program Committee. If your proposal is selected, your acknowledgment will include instructions about next steps. All presenters are required to register for the conference upon acceptance, at the early-bird rate, and to fund their own travel expenses.


Accessibility and Code of Conduct:

NEA is committed to making the Spring 2020 Meeting welcoming and accessible to all presenters and attendees. Presenters are encouraged to ensure that their presentations meet current accessibility guidelines. Presenters are also required to abide by the NEA Code of Conduct, which can be found here:

If you will need specific accommodations, such as interpretive services, to support your participation in this event, please contact the program chair.


Scholarships and Awards:

Meeting and travel scholarships are available through NEA for those in need. Details may be found on the NEA website: Please also refer to the following pages for specific details on:

     Meeting and travel assistance:

     Student member meeting and travel assistance:

     Inclusion and diversity session scholarship:

Questions? Please contact the Program Committee chair, Amber LaFountain, at

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