Papers of interest at the ICA Congress in Kula Lumpur, July 2008

The 16th International Council on Archives Congress was held in Kuala Lumpur in July 2008. The ICA holds its congress every four years and attracts archivists, archival educators and other interested individuals from all over the world. This year’s congress, my first, was a large and significant event with over 1200 delegates attending in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s ultra-modern central business district. The theme of the conference was Archives, Governance & Development: Mapping Future Society. I gave a paper reflecting on some of the issues for archival education which arise from our research, entitled ‘Archives & their communities: serving the people’ alongside papers by Elizabeth Shepherd (also from UCL: SLAIS) and Laura Millar (from Canada) as part of a well-received session called ‘Archives and communities: where are the boundaries?’.

The congress was so large (on occasion there were alleged to be 18 parallel sessions running at the same time) that inevitably some interesting sounding presentations were missed. However I was able to attend some really fascinating and important sessions. Sigrid McCausland’s account of the work of members of the Australian archive profession in offering basic archival skills training to a range of local and community groups since the 1980s (work which provided one impetus for the development of the first edition of Keeping Archives) showed how contemporary ideas of archival outreach supporting communities in looking after their own collections has a long history in Australia at least.

In terms of archival education and training another important session with a significant Australian component was entitled ‘Developing Inclusive, Culturally Sensitive Archival Education to Meet the Needs of Diverse Communities’. The session was led by Anne Gilliland (UCLA) and Sue McKemmish (Monash University) who introduced their ‘Pluralising the Archival Paradigm’ research which aims to support the development of archival education programmes which are ‘culturally sensitive, inclusive of community knowledge and responsive to community needs’. The next paper was given by Kelvin White (University of Oklahoma where he has just established an archival programme) who discussed his PhD research into the absences and problems with archival practice in Mexico, in particular with regard to Mexico’s communities of African heritage, and then his suggestions for the development of diversified archival education programmes which are ‘culturally sensitive and inclusive’ to a range of different traditions and needs. Finally two working (and studying) archivists of Aboriginal heritage, Kirsten Thorpe and Anne Wright reflected on their work as part of Australian Society of Archivists’ Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group and the challenges that Aboriginal history and recordkeeping present to traditional Western and Eurocentric archival practice. Much debate and interest then followed with many of audience participating in the general discussion.

Andrew

4 Responses to “Papers of interest at the ICA Congress in Kula Lumpur, July 2008”

  1. Mary Says:

    Sounds fascinating. Do you know what plans there are for publication of any of these papers?

  2. Andrew Says:

    Some contributions to the Congress are available on the ICA’s website but not these ones I think. The ICA’s journal Comma will be publishing selected submitted papers in the coming year and hopefully these papers will be among them.

  3. Recent Links Tagged With "ica" - JabberTags Says:

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  4. Flora Says:

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one 😉

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