New England Archivists Fall Meeting

The Institute Archives and Special Collections hosted the Fall 2017 Meeting of the New England Archivists (NEA) on September 23, 2017. The half-day symposium was an opportunity for members to reflect about archives and the work of archivists under the theme “Infinite Conversations” through a series of facilitated conversations. Over 100 people attended the meeting, which was held in buildings 14, 6, and 2.

IASC staff serving on the Program Committee were Liz Andrews, Myles Crowley, Nora Murphy, and Chris Tanguay. The idea for the theme was inspired by Sherry Turkle’s book Reclaiming Conversations. Jonathan Franzen in the New York Times describes the book as,

…a call to arms: Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-reflection, and the time has come to reassert ourselves, behave like adults and put technology in its place.

Attendees seemed to take the theme to heart as evidenced through low social media output and the distinctive hum of continuing conversations that could be heard through the halls of MIT. For those that couldn’t attend the tweets featured here do give some idea of what the meeting was like.

In preparation for the meeting, a call for conversation topics and facilitators was put out to the NEA community instead of the traditional call for presentations. Sessions included:

Facilitators for each session provided questions for the audience and helped guide the conversation. While there was a room designated for impromptu popup sessions, the space was not utilized.

To view the program online, visit NEA’s Fall 2017 Meeting website. Session reports should be available in the January 2018 issue of the NEA Newsletter.


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