Caribbean Archives - Call for Proposals

  • 1.  Caribbean Archives - Call for Proposals

    Posted May 08, 2019 05:30 PM









    The Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of the West Indies (Mona, Jamaica Campus) is pleased to announce its first Symposium on Archives and Records. The Symposium is being held on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 October, 2019 to coincide with and celebrate two significant events in archival development in the Caribbean. These are:

    • The graduation of the first cohort of students in the M.A. in Archives and Records Management Degree programme in the Department of Library & Information Studies (DLIS)
    • The recent publication of the book, Decolonizing the Caribbean Record: An Archives Reader, edited by Jeanette Bastian, John A Aarons, and Stanley H Griffin, the official launch of which will be one of the highlights of the Symposium. This work is significant as it is the first comprehensive publication on Caribbean archives in over 50 years.

    We welcome proposals on the following theme:




    Generally speaking, Caribbean archival institutions (and these are chiefly national institutions for there are few established in other areas), have remained 'locked' in the sense that they are chiefly acquiring traditional materials (official paper based records) and providing access to colonial records which have limited value to the population as a whole.  This means that the average person, cannot easily connect with the holdings of the Archives as they have little relevance to their daily existence.

    Archival institutions no longer have the monopoly on records on or about the Caribbean. Increasingly, business and organisations keep their own legacy records and document their affairs in accordance with legislative stipulations. In addition, with the rise of technology and the plethora of creative expressions, Caribbean records are no longer confined to textual (paper) materials or can be stored in boxes on shelves. Moreover, materials about the Caribbean are no longer restricted to our shores as the Caribbean Diaspora continues to grow and celebrate their roots with festivals, celebrations and by creating community archives.

    Caribbean archival institutions are challenged to reflect the cultures and lived experiences of Caribbean people. In order to do so, they must 'unlock' their perceptions of what constitutes a record, redefine its enduring value, and acquire more materials which represent the activities of our societies. This must include modern and ever evolving formats (audio-visual, electronic and social media) in which records are increasingly being created and must be preserved. Moreover, cultural forms and practices, which for many constitutes their personal, family and organizational memory bank, must be recognised and acknowledged.

    This Symposium will consider the following topics:

    • How are Caribbean peoples and societies crafting, documenting and preserving their Memory?
    • What could be 'Uncovered' as the records of the 21st century Caribbean?
    • Are there new Archives in the Caribbean or the Caribbean Diaspora to be 'Discovered'? (i.e. traditional record formats as well as other forms of expressions, formats)
    • Are there any new roles for Caribbean National Archival Repositories and Caribbean Archivists and Records Managers?

    We welcome proposals which address the following:

    1. Innovative ways of encouraging the acceptance of records management in government entities and private sector companies
    2. Changes in the legislative and policy frameworks for Records and Archives which take into account new developments in recordkeeping
    3. Case studies of ways in which Archival institutions have deliberately adopted new strategies to acquire 'non-traditional' archival materials
    4. Methodologies of establishing community based archives and the role of national archival institutions in these initiatives
    5. Archival collections on Caribbean issues, cultural expressions, communities in the Diaspora
    6. Challenges of acquiring and organizing social media records and private archives
    7. Ways in which artistic and cultural expressions are being used as repositories of memory
    8. Examples of ways in which ecclesiastical, literary and cultural institutions manage and provide access to their materials, particularly those in non-traditional formats.
    9. Historical interpretations and use of records, especially in non-traditional formats
    10. Ways in which the experiences of the marginalized voices in the society can be reflected in the holdings of Archives

    Papers are likely to be 20 minutes long and should be analytical rather than purely descriptive. Please note that unfortunately there will be no translation facilities at the conference so only English papers will be accepted.

    If you would like to submit a proposal, please include the following:

    • Paper title
    • Name of speaker(s)
    • Job title and institution
    • 250-300-word abstract with bibliography of at least two items
    • Short biography of speaker(s)
    • Proposals should be submitted to the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) at by 8 July 2019.
    • Acceptance of proposal by July 31, 2019

    Please note that registration, travel and accommodation costs of speakers will not be covered, although registration costs are kept as low as possible. Details about accommodation and registration will be announced shortly. For further information, please contact Dr Stanley H. Griffin, at or the Department Office at 1.876.927.2944.

    This Symposium will be held at the Mona Campus of The University of the West Indies, in Kingston Jamaica. The Mona Campus is the founding campus of the unique, multi-part, multi-national University of the West Indies. The square mile site welcomed its first undergraduates – 33 medical students from across the West Indies or now, more often, the Caribbean – in October 1948. To medicine was added Natural Science in 1949, Arts in 1950 and, gradually, the full range of the modern university.  Today, The UWI is the region's premier educational institution, with faculties offering a wide range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral programmes in Humanities and Education, Science and Technology, Science and Agriculture, Engineering, Law, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. But amid the concerns of the present, the past remains visible across the Mona campus, where a number of heritage signs and monuments call attention to the material remnants of the site's varied history. These include cut stone Roman style aqueducts, an 18th century building re-purposed as a Chapel and much more.

    Looking forward to having you celebrate with us!

    Jeannette Bastian
    Professor/Director of Archives Program
    Simmons University
    Boston MA