From our friends in the Finnish Literature Society


Creative Processes and Archives in Arts and Humanities

Helsinki, 7th – 9th June 2017

Registration open!

The Finnish Literature Society (SKS) and Institut des textes & manuscrits modernes (ITEM) will organise an international and interdisciplinary conference GENESIS – HELSINKI 2017: Creative Processes and Archives in Arts and Humanities in Helsinki, 7th – 9th June 2017.

It will be the first broad conference on Genetic Criticism in the Nordic countries. Genetic Criticism (critique génétique) is a discipline that explores writing processes and other creative work. Its central research corpora comprise various archival sources from writer’s notes to drafts, and manuscripts. The forthcoming conference will provide an international and interdisciplinary forum for the theory and practice of Genetic Criticism from various angles.

We are looking forward to an exciting three-day programme with almost 60 papers from over 15 countries. Keynote speakers and plenary panelists include: Paolo D’Iorio (ITEM), Claire Doquet (Université Paris 3), Irène Fenoglio (ITEM), Daniel Ferrer (ITEM), Hans Walter Gabler (London University), Dirk Van Hulle (Centre for Manuscript Genetics), Ineke Huysman (Huygens ING), Wim Van Mierlo (Loughborough University), Carrie Smith (Cardiff University), Juha-Heikki Tihinen (Pro Artibus Foundation), and Sakari Ylivuori (Jean Sibelius Works).

Further information and registration:

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Art and activism producing new archives

Artists, scholars and activists are leading the way in the creation of new archives that document important social and political events. Increasingly they are filling some important gaps in the documentation of such events, particularly those resulting from major and rapid upheavals. Archivists working within the confines of established institutions and organisationss, places that are typically funded, resourced and authorised by national and sub-national governments, may be unable or unwilling to address these gaps for a variety of reasons. With the ubiquity of online tools, practically anyone can generate a documentation project that creates an archive.

This trend in the production of activist and artist-led  archives raises all sorts of questions for archivists working in these more traditional archival settings. Should they be aiming to link-up with these newly emergent trends in the production of archives and urging their institutions to engage with them? What are the ethical implications of these new archival projects? Are the new forms of archive production ultimately a threat to established archives and the way they have traditionally functioned, or an opportunity? How will these archives be preserved into perpetuity if they remain outside conventional institutions?

Rachel Heidenry tackles some of these questions in  ‘The Role of Online Archives in Contemporary Art and Activism’ in the January-February issue of Art21 Magazine.

Sebastian Gurciullo

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SLA in Mexico City, November 2017

It has been confirmed that SLA will be presenting a session on Caribbean literary archives as part of this year’s ICA Annual Conference, to be held in Mexico City, 27-29 November 2017. The long title of the session is this:

Issues in Caribbean literary archives : diasporas, gender politics, hidden archives, languages, big and small islands, and the digital future

Chair: Sebastian Gurciullo
Speakers: Rachel Foss, Helena Leonce, David Sutton
Rapporteurs for the session: Heather Dean, Catherine Hobbs

It is also intended to hold an SLA business meeting during the conference, which all SLA members will be welcome to attend.

David Sutton
Chair / Président

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Safe Havens for Archives at Risk

As described in earlier posts, SLA has continued to support work being conducted on Archival Safe Havens (cases of archives in extreme danger which may, as a last resort, be physically moved to a safe location or be digitally copied and the copies transferred to a trusted repository).

A successful session on this topic at ICA’s Seoul Congress, chaired by the SLA President, has led to closer engagement of both UNESCO and ICA in this work, and was followed by two practical ‘meetings of experts’ in Berne (October 2016) and Amsterdam (January 2017), convened under the auspices of swisspeace and the International Institute of Social History.

The final outcome paper from the Bern meeting is commended to all SLA members and their archival colleagues. The agenda for the Amsterdam working meeting can be read here.

Although SLA’s work on the archives of dissident authors (see the post by Catherine Hobbs as long ago as August 2012) was one of the starting-points for this “safe haven” work, our President made it clear in Seoul that SLA would no longer seek to develop its own individual project in this area but, rather, would seek to continue this important internationalist initiative as a team-project working with partners from UNESCO, ICA, swisspeace and the Diasporic Literary Archives Network.

Related documents
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SLA in 2017

This is an update to some earlier posts on future SLA activities.

Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting, Portland, July 2017. SLA will not be represented at SAA. Several members have indicated that they would be uncomfortable travelling to the USA following the presidential elections there.

Meeting of ESARBICA, Lilongwe, August 2017. SLA hopes to be represented at the next ESARBICA meeting and to present a session on literary archives in southern Africa, using recent work in Namibia as a case study.

ICA Annual Meeting, Mexico City, 27-29 November 2017. SLA hopes to be represented at the ICA Annual Meeting. A proposal has been submitted for a session on Caribbean literary archives; and it may be possible to hold a Section meeting in addition to this.

Archival Safe Havens. SLA will continue its support for this project, working with UNESCO and swisspeace and other partners, and will be represented at the next meeting, Amsterdam, January 2017.

Documentary Heritage at Risk. Continuing work in this area will also be supported by SLA during 2017, with active partners including UNESCO, swisspeace and the Diasporic Literary Archives Network.

Caribbean literary heritage: recovering the lost past and safeguarding the future.
Following a successful grant application to the Leverhulme Trust, a team led by Professor Alison Donnell of the Diasporic Literary Archives Network and including several SLA members will be working on this exciting and detailed project from 2017 to 2020.

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Archive of Tom Sharpe in Girona

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Discussions within SLA and the Diasporic Literary Archives Network in recent years have emphasised the importance of language in international collection-building. Language has come to be seen as a much stronger force than other factors such as geography, “natural location” … Continue reading

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Meetings of SLA members in 2017

Probably the two best chances for SLA members to meet together next year will be at the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists in Portland, Oregon in July, and at the ICA Annual Conference in Mexico City in … Continue reading

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