2021 Archivaria Awards


At the Association of Canadian Archivists 2021 Annual General Meeting, the following prizes were announced:

Alexandra Mills, Désirée Rochat, and Steven High, are awarded the W. Kaye Lamb Prize for their article “Telling Stories from Montreal’s Negro Community Centre Fonds: The Archives as Community-Engaged Classroom,” which appears in Archivaria 89 (Spring 2020).

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 the General Editor, with the assistance of the members of the Archivaria Editorial Board.

The citation reads:

Written by an interdisciplinary team of authors, this article provides a rare depth of analysis on the work involved in, and potential benefits of, teaching with archives, and suggests exciting ways that archives can be brought out of the vaults to be activated and engaged with in classrooms and in communities. Mills, Rochat, and High’s case study offers a timely and compelling model of archival pedagogy. This model evidences the extraordinary learning outcomes to be achieved when undergraduate students are trusted to enter the rarified domain of the archive and to engage in active and largely unstructured exploration. Yet it also reveals how, through successful community engagement work, those documented in the archives can maintain or reclaim bonds with records and histories, which are often broken when the records are taken from communities and placed in institutional settings. Appropriately grounded in public history, education, and archival literature, Mills, Rochat, and High’s work emphasizes the many types of relationships that form in, around, and through archives, while reminding us of the complexity involved in the notion of community.

Elspeth H. Brown is awarded the Hugh A. Taylor Prize for her article “Archival Activism, Symbolic Annihilation, and the LGBTQ2+ Community Archive,” which appeared in Archivaria 89 (Spring 2020).

The winner of the Taylor prize is chosen by the General Editor and a professor of Archival Studies (selected by the General Editor), who decide the winner by consensus. This year that role was filled by Greg Bak, University of Manitoba.

The citation reads:

This year’s Taylor Prize winner takes us into deeper engagement with the concept of community within archival theory and practice. Reflecting on her experiences as a researcher and a volunteer with The ArQuives and her work as the director of the LGBTQ2+ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, Brown considers the types of “symbolic engagement” that occur within communities and shape archives. Seamlessly bringing together sources from archival literature and LGBTQ2+ studies, Brown’s article offers a richly interdisciplinary discussion of collection politics and activist archives. Engaging with scholarship on trans and BIPOC histories and questioning the primacy of gay liberation narratives in community archives, Brown’s article requires archivists to reimagine archival activism in LGBTQ2+ community archives through an intersectional and trans-inclusionary lens. Brown’s work contributes to a nuanced understanding of the tensions and contradictions inherent in all communities, making her article essential reading for anyone working with LGBTQ2+ communities, or any other community archives.

Congratulations to all the winners!