NEA taking the past into the future


OCTOBER 26-27, 2023

Program Description 

Join New England Archivists this fall for two days of virtual programming! We are excited to share our Fall 2023 Symposium, October 26-27, which will focus on sustaining our organization, and our members, for the next 50 years.

Schedule (subject to change) 


1:00pm - 2:00pm Opening Remarks and Social Hour
2:00pm - 3:00pm Opening State of NEA
3:15pm - 4:15pm IDC Reading Circle: “Toward a Crip Provenance:” Centering Disability in Archives through its Absence


9:30am - 11:00am Fall Meeting Workshop: Celebrating with Collections
11:15am - 12:15pm Privacy, Description, and Access: Exploring Ethical Care of Community History
1:30pm - 2:30pm Closing Town Hall and Closing Remarks

Session Descriptions 

Thursday, October 26 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Opening Remarks and Social Hour
This year at the virtual NEA 2023 Fall Meeting the Membership Committee is hosting a members* social and discussion event on Thursday, October 26, from 1-2pm.

We are excited to meet you and to share some knowledge about NEA opportunities for mentoring, networking, and volunteering, the job market and application processes, as well as information about some subsets of the field, such as teaching with primary sources. Grab a snack or beverage and please join us!

* This event is meant to be an inclusive experience for archivists at all career stages, and you are welcome to join us even if you are not a new NEA member! All are welcome!

Thursday, October 26 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Opening State of NEA
Led by Caitlin Birch, Interim President and Jeanne Lowrey, Vice-President/President Elect

This spring we celebrated the 50th anniversary of NEA. As we look toward the next 50 years, we find ourselves at a crossroads. The pandemic era has proved challenging on a personal, professional, and organizational level. The challenges of recent years have highlighted areas of strength and opportunities for growth for NEA.

Join NEA Leadership for a candid presentation on the current state of the organization, our hopes for the future, and the many ways that members can engage in NEA’s next chapter. This will include highlighting upcoming volunteer opportunities, including service on the Executive Board.

Want to be part of the follow-up conversation? Join us at the Town Hall session on Friday, October 27th at 1:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 26 3:15pm - 4:15pm

NEA’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee (IDC) Reading Circle - Toward a Crip Provenance: Centering Disability in Archives through its Absence
Facilitated by Matt Amedeo and Sarah Shepherd

Join the IDC as they discuss accessibility in archives by reading the article by Gracen Brillmyer. This conversation will be fun, open, enthusiastic, and serve as a safe space to share ideas and thoughts about the article.

Using the records that document the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition as a case study, this article discusses the messiness and unknowability of provenance. Drawing attention to how the concept of provenance can emphasize the reconstruction of a fonds when records have been moved, rearranged, and dispersed, this article draws attention to the ‘curative’ and ‘rehabilitative’ orientations of established notions of provenance. Put in conversation with disability studies scholarship, which critiques rehabilitating, curing, and restoring, this article outlines the theoretical scaffolding of a crip provenance: a disability-centered framework of resisting the desire to restore and instead meets records where they are at. By acknowledging archival realities (where provenance is messy, partial, rumored, or nonexistent), this article emphasizes relationships that exist precisely because records are always already dispersed, duplicated, and partial. A crip provenance highlights four central facets of archival and crip relationships—people, systems, materials, and spaces—as a way to grapple with archival realities and tell disability history when there is little or no evidence of disabled people. Together these facets demonstrate how a crip provenance opens up multiple avenues for addressing disability in history: from highlighting moments of living disabled people experiencing archival material to expansive tangential histories that connect language and materials to politics and ableism within the colonial history of the Exposition.

The article can be downloaded through the above link and here.

Friday, October 27 9:30am - 11:00am

NEA 2023 Fall Meeting Workshop
Celebrating with Collections
Instructor: Jesse Keel, Associate Preservation Specialist, NEDCC

Please join NEA for an online workshop taught by Associate Preservation Specialist Jesse Keel from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC).

When your community (or your nation) is celebrating a major anniversary, the public and press will be interested in archival collections related to that time period. Before you bring out your most precious items, you'll want to attend this workshop to learn the basics about how to protect them during handling, scanning, and exhibition. The instructor will also explain how you can collaborate with other local organizations to save time and money as you engage the public in your community's history. It's never too early to begin planning!

Please note - workshop registration is separate from meeting registration. The registration link is below, at the end of the schedule.

Registration rates
NEA Members: $25.00
Non-Members: $40.00
Student: $12.50
Bridge-rate*: $18.75

Friday, October 27 11:15am - 12:15pm

Privacy, Description, and Access: Exploring Ethical Care of Community History
Moderator: Joan Ilacqua (The History Project)
Panelists: Sam Valentine (The History Project), Rachael McIntosh (Digital Transgender Archive), Molly Brown (Northeastern University Archives), Betts Coup (Houghton Library, Harvard)

In the last two years, there has been a dramatic increase in attempts to ban books and inclusive histories in both public schools and libraries. As archivists, we are not exempt from this moral panic and we must respectfully care for materials in our custody. Join us for a conversation about how our organizations navigate the inclusive and ethical care of community collections. Some of these challenges and considerations include privacy, previous and dead names, digitization concerns, reparative description, reclaimed slurs, contemporary labels and language, and content warnings.

Friday, October 27 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Closing Town Hall and Closing Remarks
Led by Jeanne Lowrey, Vice-President/President Elect

Come be part of the conversation! Join Jeanne Lowrey, Vice-President/President Elect and members of the Executive Board to discuss the future of NEA. We want to hear from you about what NEA is doing well, where we can improve, and what you think we should prioritize in the months and years ahead. Expect to listen and participate in an active discussion on the future of our organization. This session will build on the Town Hall sessions held at the Spring 2022 Virtual Unconference, as well as the State of NEA session held on Thursday, October 26th at 2pm.

We look forward to hearing your insights and working together to build the NEA of tomorrow!


Please follow this link to complete your registration. We are offering registration on a pay what you can basis. The registration confirmation email will contain a link to a Google Drive that will have a copy of the schedule with Zoom links and any handouts.

To complement the program, the Education Committee is offering a workshop for which separate payment and registration is required. You may register here.

Code of Conduct

New England Archivists is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all of our events. For questions or concerns about accessibility, interpretive services, religious observance, or any other accommodations that would make the virtual symposium more accessible for you, please contact NEA’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee at

All virtual symposium participants are expected to abide by the NEA Code of Conduct, which can be found here.


For questions regarding the various sessions or the schedule please contact the NEA Meeting Coordinator at

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