“VVBAD, the Belgium association for archivists, and the KVAN, the Dutch association for archivists, are holding an international Congress titled Archives without Borders on August 30 and 31, 2010 in the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands. Archives without Borders commemorates the first international archives conference which took place in Brussels a century ago in 1910. The Congress is supported by the Section for Professional Associations of the International Council on Archives (ICA/SPA). The organising committee is now calling for proposals for papers.
Good archives and records management practices are a condition for ensuring continuity, efficiency and transparency of public and private services and stakeholder accountability. The Congress will focus on the importance of archives for good governance in an international context where their significance transcends national boundaries in the globalized information society. As the memory of society, archives are not only important from a cultural point of view, but also from the perspective of supporting efficient management practices. In the records continuum approach to record keeping, where records are managed from the point of creation, accountability is supported through ongoing attention to good records and archives management practices which underpin democracy and human rights. Such a continuous management approach is important in the transitory digital era.
In a globalised information society the significance of archives goes beyond national boundaries. This situation requires new approaches to familiar concepts like record keeping and accessibility. Congress debate will centre on such questions as:
What part can the archival professional and the professional societies play abroad?
What forms of international cooperation already exist or are being developed?
Where do the archives of international and supranational organizations belong and who should be responsible for managing them?
The congress will be a meeting place for professionals engaged in archives and records management. Other interested persons are also most welcome.
Sessions will be organized on the following themes:
1. Archival solidarity
What activities can archival professional associations undertake to support their colleagues in other parts of the world? What difficulties can they expect to encounter in providing such cross-border support? And what could be the significance of the proposed ICA Universal Declaration on Archives in this respect?
2. Human rights and archives
Archives can be considered as ‘silent witnesses’ and their relevance is particularly clear when human rights are at stake. How do archives safeguard human rights? Who can gain access to archives and who is denied? How does accessibility issues impact on the protection of human rights? [I would visit this session, if I could]
3. Cross-border archives
There are several important archives whose significance go beyond national boundaries. For example: the records of the Nuremberg tribunal and the Yugoslavia tribunal and the archives of international and supranational organisations like the European Commission, the International Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. How should such archives, for which no specific international archival law exists, be managed?
4. Archives: Formation of the Nation State and National Identity
The way nation states are formed impacts on the development and keeping of archives. This topic covers such issues as the relationship between colonial powers and their former colonies; record keeping practices; the approach to managing non standardized formats and the capturing of the oral history of non-written cultures.
Advice on preparing proposals
Proposals on one of these four themes are welcome, in English or Spanish. The VVBAD/KVAN Organising Committee particularly welcomes contributions and ideas for conference sessions that encourage debate and comments from delegates. The following advice is offered to help those wishing to submit proposals:
In your abstract provide an overview of the main issues and arguments you intend to cover in your paper and explain how you expect the paper will provoke debate. This information will help the Committee make choices about the selection of papers and scheduling sessions.
Connect your proposal to the theme of the conference.
Aim to make your paper stimulating and creative.
Try to be relevant and touch on actual issues.
Cover the topic from opposing viewpoints.
Submitting your proposal
Proposals should be submitted by using the Proposal Submission Form. The deadline for submission of proposals is: 1 February, 2010. Submissions will be considered and invitations to speak will be confirmed by the Organising Committee in February, 2010.
If you have any further questions, please contact the Organising Committee.
We look forward to seeing you in The Hague next year as a speaker or as a delegate!”