2020 Archivaria Awards


At the Association of Canadian Archivists 2020 Annual General Meeting, Fiorella Foscarini, Archivaria General Editor, announced the winners of the following prizes:

Jennifer Douglas, Alexandra Alisauskas, Devon Mordell, are awarded the W. Kaye Lamb Prize for their article “’Treat Them with the Reverence of Archivists’: Records Work, Grief Work, and Relationship Work in the Archives,” which appears in Archivaria 88 (Fall 2019).

Named for Dr. William Kaye Lamb, Dominion Archivist of Canada (1948-1969) and founding National Librarian of Canada (1953-1967), this prize, established in 1983, is awarded annually to honour the author of the Archivaria article that, by its exceptional combination of research, reflection, and writing, most advances archival thinking in Canada. It is the senior award of the journal for the best article overall. The winner of the Lamb Prize is selected by General Editor (replaced this year by Senior Associate Editor Kathryn Harvey), with the assistance of the members of the Archivaria Editorial Board.

The citation reads: Drawing on existing scholarship in anthropology, psychology, and archival theory, this beautifully written and cogently argued article theorizes a new concept of records work (analogous to grief work) to conceptualize what people, specifically the bereaved, do with records--how they create, arrange, annotate, or destroy them. Resulting from this conceptualization of records, the authors reassert the need for archivists to work in a relational manner, employing an ethics of care in archival work in order to properly serve the creators, subjects, and users of records. The idea of grief may be uncomfortable to many archivists in our professional lives, and yet (as the authors persuasively argue) death underpins the collections with which we work, and greater understanding of and comfort with the idea of grief may substantially change the way we think about archives. The writing is clear and candid, and the principal author successfully moves the discourse from the deeply personal circumstances that initially motivated her research direction to a more distanced exploration with broad significance for archivists.

Gracen Brilmyer, Joyce Gabiola, Jimmy Zavala, Michelle Caswell, are awarded the Hugh A. Taylor Prize for their article “Reciprocal Archival Imaginaries: The Shifting Boundaries of ‘Community’ in Community Archives,” which appears in Archivaria 88 (Fall 2019).

The Hugh A. Taylor Prize was established in 2006 to honour the doyen of Canadian archival thinkers whose wide range of scholarly publications sparked the Canadian archival imagination. The prize is awarded annually to the author of the Archivaria article that presents new ideas or refreshing syntheses in the most imaginative way, especially by exploring the implications of concepts or trends from other disciplines for archival thinking and activity, and by extending the boundaries of archival theory in new directions.

The winner of the Taylor prize is chosen by the General Editor (replaced this year by Senior Associate Editor Kathryn Harvey), and a professor of Archival Studies (selected by the General Editor), who decide the winner by consensus. For the first five years, the latter role was filled by Dr. Terry Cook of the University of Manitoba, a former General Editor of Archivaria, long-time member of its Editorial Board, and founding contributor for this prize. This year, that role was filled by Dr. Geoffrey Yeo, University College London (UK).

The citation reads: In examining the tangled relations that connect community members to community archives, this article makes effective linkages between data collected from focus groups and conceptual understandings derived from analysis of relevant literature, particularly Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. The article offers a range of insights into social communities, especially communities that are or have been marginalized, their fluctuating boundaries, and their members' interactions with and responses to the archives they construct and use. Its proposal of the concept of reciprocal archival imaginaries – a reflection of the mutually constitutive relationships between archival processes and the formation of imaginaries – makes an important new contribution to our understandings of communities and community archives.

Congratulations to all the winners!