The ARA Conference

This annual event brings together the influential players of the recordkeepingsector. High profile speakers discuss latest developments and delegatescan network with fellow members of the community

Conference 2016: Call for Papers 


Archives and Records Association, UK and Ireland

Annual Conference: 31 Aug – 2 Sept 2016
London, UK


Call for Papers: 'Global Futures'


We know our future is a global one. Global relationships, interactions, communications and connectivity are shifting the way in which we live and work. The record, its information content and memory are an increasing global commodity and as professional custodians we are responsible for authenticity and integrity; which in turn ensures that global research, knowledge exchange, collective memory, political and legal rights, are able to be explored, scrutinized and upheld. Our professional lives often focus on pragmatic response to everyday situations, but we face a constant requirement to communicate and demonstrate to ourselves and to others our ability to place our work firmly in the future.

We are confident our sector is creative, innovative, adaptable and firmly forward facing. That is why in 2016, we want to hear about our Global Future at the ARA annual conference. Let's be more specific however, we want to hear about your global future and how you as a professional, practitioner, academic, or through your collections as part of our collective memory, fit into our Global Future.

The Archives and Records Association UK and Ireland invites proposals for delivery at its annual conference to be held in London, UK on 31 August – 2 September 2016. Streams will encompass archives and records, conservation, and digital preservation.  

We welcome contributions from across the UK and Ireland, and our colleagues in the global record keeping community.           

Themes to be covered in the conference include, but are NOT restricted to:

Action – giving consideration to tackling challenging situations and finding solutions; professional responsibility. Some initial questions might be:

  • How can we make situations and challenges work for us?
  • In what ways can we support and encourage partnerships?


Stability – considering record services; finance and funding; institutional stability or change in general. Some initial questions might be:

  • Should we keep a technology watch on the latest information technologies which could impact upon the way we run our services?
  • How do we continue to develop our skills to meet the demands of the global information age?
  • Where are changes in our training and funding leading us?
  • What are the current trends in conservations treatments and decisions, and how are these influenced by and adapted to the changing environment?


Boundaries – considering intellectual; physical; legislative; regulatory or political boundaries. Some initial questions might be:

  • What is going on in the legal and regulatory environment?
  • Are global attitudes towards information impacting upon the way we have to maintain records within regulatory and legal frameworks?
  • Do you work with colleagues from other disciplines who have positively influenced the way you work for the better and you are willing to share these collaborative approaches? Views from those working in allied fields would be welcome.
  • As the conservation profession develops, are boundaries between areas of conservation increasing or decreasing?
  • Do our shifting objectives result in a demand for standardisation of language and best practice, or do they support greater variety within our workshops?


Dissemination – through platforms; discovery networks; and other publications. You may wish to consider:

  • Are there other ways other than the internet and digitisation that can disseminate our collections and expertise to a wider audience?
  • How are new methods and more numerous opportunities for communication helping advocacy and dissemination of knowledge inside and outside of the profession?
  • Does the increased availability of information influence the options we have for conservation treatment; the materials, equipment and techniques that we use?


Innovation – considering technology – existing and emerging; standards, data interoperability and exchange; 'digital 'bad' v's digital 'good'; and materials and techniques. Some initial questions might be:

  • What impact do emerging technologies have on the way we carry out our fundamental tasks and how do we respond to keep records managed and preserved? (i.e. 3D, online resources, etc)
  • Are EDRMs and other traditional software dead? Are holistic approaches now more fashionable?
  • 'Back to the future or a step backwards?' The case for printing everything as the best means of preservation?
  • Does the speed at which new technologies are evolving affect our decisions and approaches to the care and treatment of our collections?


Communities and Collections – those in transition; undergoing change; movement; their location and access and users. Some initial questions might be:

  • Do you have a practical example of how your organisation has reacted to technological change which has universal lessons or advice?
  • Records Management, Information Governance...what's next? Are these name changes showing that we are evolving to manage society's way of creating records and information or are the skills the same?
  • The partnerships we are developing come in all shapes and sizes. How is this improving our understanding and use of our collections? How can we harness these relationships to improve the ongoing and future preservation of our holdings?
  • As we move forward materials within collections are becoming increasingly diverse. How are our options and decisions regarding the treatment of our collections shaped by increasingly varied materials?


Responsibilities – including corporate; social; individual; considering advocacy. Some initial questions might be:

  • How do we safeguard our organisations records against cyber-crime and snooping?
  • Can we or should we continue to collect archives of the future when society, as digital records creators, turn to encryption and self-destructing records in an attempt to maintain privacy?
  • What effect does the expectation of availability and immediacy have on our services?
  • Are the responsibilities of the conservator changing? How is our role affected by the evolving environment: shifting technologies, more varied materials, financial pressures, demands for advocacy?


You can participate in the following ways:

  • individual papers (individual contributions of no more than 25 minutes)
  • panel sessions (up to 3 speakers of no more than 60 minutes)
  • tutorials – single topic presentations to smaller groups of individuals (20 minute sessions, generally for up to 15 participants)
  • workshops (30 minute practical sessions)
  • roundtables (up to 4 participants for no more than 60 minutes)
  • poster presentations from postgraduate researchers and the skills trainee community


In forming your conference proposal:

  • Try to connect your proposal to the theme of the conference as best you can. The theme is designed for speakers to bring topics to light that touch on contemporary issues
  • Try to be creative with your paper! How will your paper stimulate debate?
  • Please provide as full information as possible as you can about your proposal – this helps the Committee in making choices about papers and scheduling of sessions
  • Try to be relevant and representative: consider looking at a topic from opposing viewpoints, or focus on the broader picture rather than institutionally specific ones
  • If you are considering making panel session or roundtable submission for a session, try to mix speakers from different backgrounds and institutions, or try to include a user or customer perspective



Submission:  The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday 29 January 2016.

Notification:  Invitations to speak will be confirmed by the committee by end February 2016.


Please submit your proposal, using the submission form below, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Informal discussion with members of the Conference Committee is encouraged; please email conference team on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. : Andrew Nicoll, Archives and Records stream; Lee Pretlove, Archives and Records and Digital Preservation stream; Catherine Dand, Conservation; John Chambers, Chief Executive.


Speakers will be reimbursed travel expenses and will receive free conference registration for the day on which they are speaking. International speakers will be reimbursed travel expenses within the UK only.