UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Keep Running Towards the Danger : The Transformative Potential of Archival Care Douglas, Jennifer


This work is a lightly-edited transcript of a keynote presentation at the Archives Society of Alberta 2023 Biennial Conference, held in Edmonton, Alberta, May 25-27, 2023. The conference theme was Care for People in the Archives. The talk traces some of the development of discourses around care, trauma, grief and emotion in archives and archival work. It reflects on ten years of research on grief and recordkeeping and on changes to the reception of work of this type in the discipline and the profession. It also suggests ways that discourses of practicality alongside what Victoria Hoyle calls "authorized archival discourse" impede the potential for the kinds of transformative change many archival theorists and practitioners are calling for. Finally, it highlights the need for systemic change that is supported and enacted structurally and especially at leadership levels.

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