Call for Session Proposals: Des Moines 2024

The Midwest Archives Conference will hold its 2024 Annual Meeting May 2-4 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa. The capital city of Iowa, Des Moines is known for arts, culture, and its place in the heartland of America’s agricultural production. 

The Program Committee invites session proposals touching on the theme “Sowing Seeds of Change.” Drawing on Iowa’s agricultural traditions and historic prairie ecosystem, we encourage you to consider areas of growth, cultivation, and restoration in our profession. As our professional landscape continues to evolve and change, how do we adapt and implement new approaches, processes, and technologies? When do we go back to our roots, and when do we plant for the future? What are some ways we have nurtured our collections, patrons, and ourselves as archivists and allied professionals? 

The Program Committee encourages submissions from newer professionals and members of underrepresented groups. MAC membership is not required. Presenters may submit more than one proposal, but may present only one session OR poster.

With an eye toward clear takeaways that can be broadly applied, possible areas of focus include but are not limited to:

  • Areas of growth in archival theory, technology, and practice
  • Controlling workload expectations and tending to self-care to avoid burnout
  • Managing born-digital records and keeping up with digitization standards/technologies
  • Stretching resources/budgets in innovative and practical ways
  • Encouraging advocacy and collaboration
  • Approaches to reference and instruction 
  • Promoting inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, collections, and archival practices
  • Establishing and updating reappraisal and deaccessioning policies
  • Documenting historically underrepresented or marginalized groups
  • Community archiving approaches and practices
  • Making collections discoverable and accessible to all
  • Cultivating collections and relationships with patrons and donors
  • Restoration in the profession, through preservation and conservation, or acknowledging and repairing disparities and inequities 
  • Workplace considerations, such as managing relationships, communication, and non-traditional career paths

 The Program Committee will also consider proposals not related to this theme or that fall outside these areas of focus.

Possible Session Types

  • Standard Presentation: Two to four speakers present on a common theme. May include a moderator to steer discussion and/or introduce speakers and theme.
  • Open Forum: Topical discussion with moderator leading discussion with everyone present. May include additional moderator(s) to direct breakout conversations.
  • Roundtable Discussion: Three or four participants make very brief remarks, then discuss a topic together. Includes a moderator to steer discussion.
  • PechaKucha: Each presentation consists of 20 slides or images displayed for 20 seconds each, with comment. Each presentation lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Lightning Talks: Like PechaKucha, but without a set format. May or may not include slides or images. Presentations may be from 3 to 10 minutes long, with the time allotted depending on the number of presenters.
  • Debate: Moderator announces the topic, and two individuals debate. May include more than one topic and additional debaters.

In January 2024, there will be a call for poster proposals as well as a call for pop-up sessions for less traditional session types or time-sensitive topics.

Possible Session Lengths

60 minutes and 90 minutes. Please be mindful of your number of presenters and session type when indicating preferred session length.

Speaker Representation

The Program Committee seeks a diverse slate of presenters representing a variety of personal and institutional backgrounds, perspectives, and voices. We seek to foster a culture of inclusion in the MAC program and encourage submissions from anyone who is interested in presenting, including students, new professionals, first-time presenters, and those from allied professions. In order to facilitate this, the proposal submission form will ask voluntary questions about presenters’ past presentation experiences as well as some demographic information.

To facilitate collaboration among those brainstorming session ideas, the Program Committee encourages use of the MAC Facebook page and the spreadsheet for brainstorming session proposal ideas.

Proposal Evaluation

The Program Committee will evaluate all proposals submitted by the deadline using the following criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of the session abstract;
  • Thoroughness of content and sufficient speakers to address all relevant aspects of the topic;
  • Originality of proposed topic;
  • Diversity of presenters and viewpoints;
  • Appropriateness of proposed format with session content

All proposals will be considered in the context of the overall structure of the meeting and availability of time slots for proposed sessions.

You can preview a PDF of the proposal form here.

All individuals involved in an accepted proposal must sign a presenter agreement.

Proposal Submission

The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2024 MAC Annual Meeting is August 28, 2023 at 5 p.m. CST. Use the CFP form to submit your proposal.

If you have any questions about the proposal process, please contact the 2024 Program Committee co-chairs, Jaycie Vos ([email protected]) and Scott Brouwer ([email protected]).