Annual Conference Call for Proposals 2020

The Midwest Archives Conference will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting May 6-9, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. An election year presents a year for choice in leadership, but it is also about the power of decisions. Who makes them, where they are made, when they are made, and most importantly what decisions do you make as an archivist. The Program Committee invites session proposals touching on the theme "Decision 2020" from all areas of archival practice and research and from allied fields. The Program Committee particularly encourages submissions from early professionals, archivists of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Topic Possibilities Include But Are Not Limited To:

  • Collections acquisition/accession representing a group(s) story that is missing from the archival record.

  • Collaborating with, starting, or otherwise participating in community archives.

  • Decisions regarding collections management tools and cleaning up legacy metadata.

  • Research on diversity- and inclusion-related topics.

  • Methodology and approaches to, and/or studies of decolonizing the archives.

  • Collections management decision-making.

  • Centennial of women’s suffrage.

  • Decision-making and archival labor: lone arrangers, appropriate compensation in the archives and appropriate use of temporary positions, and acknowledgement of archival labor, from students through professionals (also unpaid labor).

  • Archivists’ voice (Make your voice be heard!): Archival advocacy, both for your own archives and advocating for communities represented in your archives.

  • Getting things done when you are the only archivist in the room or when making major decisions is not in your job description.

  • Archivists’ choice: why did you pick the archives profession?

The Program Committee will also consider outstanding proposals not related to this theme or these topics.

The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2020 MAC Annual Meeting is EXTENDED TO Friday, September 20th at 5 p.m. EST.

If you have any questions about the proposal process, please contact the 2020 Program Committee co-chairs, Marcella Huggard and Benn Joseph.

Click HERE to submit a proposal.


  • Standard Presentations: 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 other people debate. May include more than one topic and additional debaters.

  • Other: Have an idea for a different session type?  Propose it!

Session Lengths:

NEW THIS YEAR! The Program committee is providing a choice in session length. When submitting your proposal, please choose how long a presentation time you would like (and think about how well your session format will work in that amount of time).

  • 90 minutes

  • 45 minutes

 A separate call for poster proposals, as well as a call for pop-up sessions (also new for MAC this year!), will go out later in the year.


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.The Program Committee will make every effort to ensure presenters appear in only one session. 

To facilitate collaboration among those brainstorming session ideas, the Program Committee encourages the use of this spreadsheet for brainstorming session proposal ideas.

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

  • Merit and clarity of the 250-word abstract;

  • Completeness of the proposal, particularly having well-developed content and sufficient speakers to address all relevant aspects of the topic;

  • Originality of proposed topic;

  • Diversity of the content and speaker representation; and

  • Appropriateness of proposed format and length 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.

When submitting proposals, please have ready a session title, 250-word abstract, names and contact information for all speakers, the type of session format being proposed, and any A/V or special consideration requests for your session. Additionally, if anyone on the proposal would be interested in family caregiving services or support, please include those numbers.

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

Click HERE to submit a proposal.