by Monique Lloyd
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Society of American Archivists 2008 Annual Conference, Archival R/Evolution and Identities , held August 26-30 in San Francisco . Many of the sessions I attended focused on the issues of diversity, technology, and ethics. One session, chaired by John Fleckner, past president of SAA , and author of Native American Archives: An Introduction , discussed core values, professional identity, and the spiritual impact of what archivists do. I also attended sessions on the impact of technology on ethics; one which examined the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials from different perspectives, and another on archival ethics and social justice. Some of the section and roundtable meetings I attended included College and University Archives, Archives and Archivists of Color, and Native American Archivists. I will be writing more about my impressions about these sessions and meetings on my blog in the coming weeks.
In between attending sessions and meetings, I took full advantage of the services offered by the Career Center, met with Mary Jo Pugh, editor of the American Archivist, to discuss several ideas for possible journal articles, and attended poster sessions. It was delightful to reconnect with people I’d met at conferences I’d previously attended in Baltimore, Albuquerque, and Anchorage, as well as having the opportunity to meet many new people from around the United States. One especially fun evening was spent watching “Archives in the Movies”, a program by Leith Johnson showing 24 film clips showing how archivists were and are portrayed in movies from the 1920’s to the present.
I also took some time to explore San Francisco. I saw dozens of beautifully and intricately carved ivory Japanese figurines in an antique store window display. I also explored several art galleries; my favorite was the Weinstein Gallery which features the work of Marc Chagall. I spent several hours wandering through Britex Fabrics, four stories (!) of fabrics of all kinds–cottons, wools, silks, brocades, lace– trims, ribbons, accessories as well as a collection of over 30,000 different buttons.
I stopped and listened to street musicians and singers, heard people speaking (and sometimes arguing) in languages I didn’t recognize, and generally reveled in the chaos of the crowded streets with tourists (like me!) stopping to take photographs, locals walking quickly as they smoked their cigarettes, police walking, in cars, and on bikes, panhandlers asking for change, a few people who seemed as though they might be both homeless and mentally ill, women beautifully and elegantly dressed in high heels, and construction workers who took the time to look at them appreciatively.
A personal highlight was attending the Awards Ceremony and being acknowledged as one of two recipients of the 2008 Howard T. Pinkett Minority Student Award . This award “recognizes minority graduate students who manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA, and do so through scholastic achievement”. The award provided full complimentary registration to the SAA Annual Meeting, as well as related expenses for hotel and travel for attending the SAA Annual Meeting. I was honored to be presented this award and would like to publicly thank Erika Castano, Curator for the Oregon Multicultural Archives at Oregon State University; Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Reference Archivist, Oregon State University and my workplace mentor, and Mary Jo Pugh for nominating me for this award.