Below are the scheduled sessions for Virtual AERI 2022. Please note that each session will have its own registration procedure located in the individual event page. Click through to each event to register and receive the video conference (Zoom) information.

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Panel: Know Before You Go: Lived Experiences of Working with Archival Donors

July 12, 2021 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm UTC+0

PANEL: Know Before You Go: Lived experiences of working with archival donors

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  • Christian Dupont, Burns Librarian & Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, Boston College
  • Amber Moore, Archivist, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
  • Sonia Pacheco, Archivist, Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Kenvi Phillips, Curator for Race and Ethnicity, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University


Itza Carbajal recently argued that it is critical for the archival profession to recognize that there is “…an explicit bond between archivist and donor, one which is centered  on mutual understanding and empathy”, what she calls an “ethics of care approach”. This approach refocuses the archival process from the ‘what’ we acquire, to ‘whom’ we work with, and this shift is important, as the field continues to move beyond its traditional practices, which have led to historic distrust of institutions. This distrust can be attributed to the reality that archives have largely been created by whites, to collect the history of whites. While speakers acknowledge that donor relationships can often be an ‘art’ rather than a formulaic science, the reality is that relatively few archival graduate programs in North America include concrete information on this aspect of archival work. While Carbajal’s work adds substantial content to this discussion, there is negligible literature on the skills archivists use to create and sustain donor relationships, yet this is work that is regularly done by practicing archivists. Therefore, one of the aims of this panel is to call more attention to the skills that are needed by archivists as they engage in donor relationships. The topics covered during this session, which will have brief presentations, a discussion amongst the presenters and plenty of time for Q&A, will include:  strategies for building relationships and trust with donors, and how these relationships have provided comfort, clarification, and context between the archivist and the records creators; how do we balance archival timelines and needs with the expectations and needs of the donor; and examples where the archivist was explicitly excluded from conversations with donors, and where the donor was identified as being ‘politically’ important to the parent institution, and the difficulties these situations posed.

Will this session be recorded for the AERI2021 Youtube channel? Yes


July 12, 2021
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm UTC+0
Event Category: