The next ICA meeting will be in Rome, September 2022

At its recent meeting, the ICA Executive Board agreed a further postponement of the Abu Dhabi 2020 Congress (already postponed to October 2021). Having reviewed reports on the continuing health, quarantine and travel problems caused by the pandemic, the Executive Board agreed reluctantly that a further postponement was unavoidable. As arrangements for the Conference in Rome in 2022 are already advanced, this has meant a postponement of the Abu Dhabi Congress to 2023. The next two meetings of ICA (with opportunities for our Section to participate) will therefore be in Rome (19-23 September 2022, conference) and Abu Dhabi (October 2023, congress), and the next chance for Section members to meet in person will be in Rome. See you there!

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Archives audiovisuelles de la littérature (Montréal, en ligne)

Archives audiovisuelles de la littérature

Colloque international, Université de Montréal, 14-16 avril 2021 (en ligne)

Le programme complet est disponible en ligne.

Organisation : 

Selina Follonier (Université de Lausanne – FNS)

Anthony Glinoer (Université de Sherbrooke)

Karim Larose (Université de Montréal).


Selina Follonier, Anthony Glinoer, Karim Larose

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Call for papers for special issue of Archival Science on born-digital and digitized archives in the humanities

Archival Science is calling for papers on the special theme issue of ‘Challenges and Prospects of Born-digital and Digitized Archives in the Digital Humanities’.

The issue will be guest edited by Dr Lise Jaillant (, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), English and Digital Humanities, Loughborough University, UK and Dr Eirini Goudarouli (, Head of Digital Research Programmes, The National Archives, UK, under the auspices of the AURA network (Archives in the UK/ Republic of Ireland & AI).

Archival Science is a leading journal, with a H index of 29. We are planning to publish the special issue OPEN ACCESS to make its readership as broad as possible.

For more details see the call for papers announcement (PDF):

More information about the journal can be found at:

Submission deadline: 30 April 2021.

Number of words: 7,000 to 8,000.

Papers should be submitted online via the journal’s editorial management system:

Please direct any questions by email to the guest editors.

If you are interested in joining the AURA mailing list and receiving the latest updates:

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Literature as Archive I & II – upcoming online seminars

Two online seminars on the theme Literature as Archive will be held on 15 January and 19 February 2021. Registrations required to access Zoom link. See details below.

Literature as Archive I – 15 January 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 (UK time)
Time: 17:00 GMT, 12:00PM EST, 19:00 EET

Reading and conversation moderated by Hana Morgenstern (University Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College) with guest speakers:

Isabella Hammad (writer)

Amir Ahmadi Arian (Writer, University of Queensland and NYU)

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame, Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies)

Register for eventFurther information

Literature as Archive II – 19 February 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 (UK time)
Time: 17:00 GMT, 12:00PM EST, 19:00 EET

Reading and conversation moderated by Hanna Morgenstern (University Lecturer in Postcolonial and the Middle East Literature, Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College) and Hilary Rantisi (Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School) with guest speakers:

Elias Khoury (writer)

Susan Abulhawa (writer)

Register for eventFurther information

These events have been organised by Archives of the Disappeared: Discipline and Method Amidst Ruin Network, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge University, and co-organised with Literatures of Annihilation, Exile and Resistance, Notre Dame University and Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University.

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Happy New Year to SLA members: hoping for a better 2021

I send my best wishes for the new year to all SLA members, in the hope that we will see a much better year in 2021 than we did in 2020. My congratulations to all the ICA members who managed to achieve some good work during 2020 in spite of the pandemic – notably the various editors of Comma, the Working Group on the future of ICA’s Executive Board, and those involved in the project Safe Havens for Archives at Risk. I hope to be able to meet as many SLA members as possible at the delayed ICA Congress, now scheduled for Abu Dhabi in October 2021.

David Sutton, Chair / Président, SLA

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Looking ahead to Abu Dhabi, October 2021

As we have previously announced, the four-yearly ICA Congress in Abu Dhabi has been rescheduled from November 2020 to October 2021, as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Planning is now well underway for the Congress – the most important event in ICA’s calendar. The proceedings will take place from 19–22 October 2021, with governance meetings (including Section meetings) taking place in the days before the Congress opens.

ICA’s officers have decided that all governance changes previously expected to take place at the 2020 Congress will be deferred to the 2021 Congress – including, for Sections, the assumption of new roles for the Section Chair, Section Secretary and Section Committee.

New Chair and Committee for SLA from 2021
From the 2021 Congress, the new Chair (sometimes called President) of SLA will be Heather Dean, presently our Section Secretary. Heather is Associate Director of Special Collections in the Library of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She will assume her new role at the end of the Abu Dhabi Congress, but in the meantime would be delighted to hear from SLA members with their thoughts about the future of the Section. Heather can be contacted though her University of Victoria profile.

The new SLA Committee from 2021 – elected, co-opted and announced at the end of last year – will be as follows:

  • Leonor Calvão Borges
  • Fatoumata Cissé Diara
  • Heather Dean
  • André Derval
  • Sebastian Gurciullo
  • Catherine Hobbs
  • Veno Kauaria
  • Annantonia Martorano
  • David Sutton

Also in Abu Dhabi …
We will hold a Section Meeting for SLA in Abu Dhabi if enough SLA members indicate that they are going to attend in person. In the meantime we will be considering the possibilities for organising a videoconference meeting early in 2021, to look ahead to Abu Dhabi and beyond.

The new Section for Archives and Human Rights (SAHR) will have a number of highlights in Abu Dhabi, including the launch of the new book on Archives and Human Rights, to be published by Routledge; the launch of a new edition of the ICA journal Comma, also devoted to archives and human rights; and a programme session on Safe Havens for Archives at Risk, with speakers Afelonne Doek of Amsterdam, Didier Grange of Geneva, and David Sutton, the outgoing Chair/President of SLA.

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Safe Havens for Archives at Risk: Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk have been approved by ICA and published on the official ICA website. They were produced by an international group of experts, convened by swisspeace, with input from ourselves, among many others in many countries.

The Guiding Principles can be accessed here.

Earlier posts on this SLA blog give the background to the Safe Havens project, which is a success story of international archival co-operation.

Archival Safe Havens reflect 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.

More recently published is a Commentary on the Guiding principles, which can be accessed via the website of one of the project partners, UMAM in Beirut, here, or directly by this downloadable pdf link – Commentary Safe Havens pdf file 6a.

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Latest edition of ‘Comma’

Congratulations to the editorial team of Comma, who have produced a really interesting new issue in mid-pandemic.

Entitled Yaoundé Conference 2018/Miscellany, issue number 2019-1 (published 2020) includes papers from a number of sessions at the ICA Annual Conference in Cameroon, together with some general essays.

Colleagues will be interested to read, for example, a fascinating interview of ICA’s long-serving Secretary-General Charles Kecskeméti by Jens Boel and Perrine Canavaggio, as well as (among others) a reflective essay entitled ‘Archives: a multi-faceted nature’ by Joan Boadas i Raset, which includes literary manuscripts among its examples.

And the essay entitled ‘Research on celebrity archives held by provincial archives in China’ includes reference to the papers of Lu Xun in Shanghai (mentioned in a recent post on this blog), as well as giving general observations about the recognition by Chinese archivists of the importance of personal papers.

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COVID-19, UNESCO and documentary heritage

The latest issue (June 2020) of the Newsletter of SCEaR – the Sub-Committee on Education and Research of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme – includes a number of important reflections on the effect of the current pandemic on our world of documentary heritage, and on the future role of UNESCO in this regard.

You can read the newsletter here: SCEaRNewsletter2020-1June30

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Rescheduling of ICA Abu Dhabi Congress

The ICA four-yearly Congress, to be held in Abu Dhabi, has been rescheduled to October 2021.

The new dates for the Abu Dhabi Congress are 19-22 October 2021, and the venue is as previously announced: at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The ICA business meetings will be held on 17th and 18th October.

The Programme Committee has adjusted its timeline accordingly, and notifications regarding the status of proposals for presentations and events at the Congress will be sent by the end of June 2020.

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