Rethinking Archives: Reframing Boundaries, Imagining Possibilities - SARBICA International Symposium 2019

24 Jun 2019 to 28 Jun 2019


hosted by National Archives of Singapore

24 – 28 June 2019



“Rethinking Archives: Reframing Boundaries, Imagining Possibilities”




The SARBICA International Symposium 2019 is about reframing boundaries and imagining new possibilities for the archives, to keep the archives thriving amid the changing realities of society, technologically and otherwise. It is about the archives riding on the digital economy on one hand and foreseeing the issues and challenges that come with it on the other. It is also about how the field of records creation, management, preservation and dissemination has extended its boundaries to include policy-making, corporate culture building, cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies, curriculum development and training, to name a few.  


Data is said to be the new oil in our digital economy and it is the resource to support the formation of smart cities and the Internet of Things. Much effort has been undertaken to harvest   data about individuals and their preferences, their browsing history, and even their personal information including their social and working relationships, and credit history. Such personal information is routinely collected, transmitted, and shared with multiple parties including social media platforms, content creators, advertisers, data brokers, and government bodies. This makes it possible to form a digital profile of an individual including his or her likes, interests, political beliefs, religious beliefs, and so on.  


In recent years, the use of algorithms has influenced the types of news consumed by individuals as well as the manner they are disseminated. This has led to a surge in misleading information or fake news, which influence public opinion, politics, and even maximise profits.  While big data and machine-learning can improve people’s lives (e.g. in the healthcare sector), the opacity of how data and information is processed is problematic. Most significantly, the proliferation of information and data mining has implications for privacy and security.


How may we situate the archives in this context? Can we imagine ways of keeping archives vibrant and relevant in the future? How can we reframe, reconceptualise or reformulate established archival theories and practices to help assert archives as most trustworthy sources of history, memory, as well as of the information needed for policy-making? What roles do archivists, records professionals and other allied professionals in the industry, government, and media have to play to address the plethora of misinformation and biased assumptions? With so much personal information now available online, can oral historians prove the continuing value and usefulness of the life stories we record for society?  


Some of the topics that will be of interest for this Symposium are: 

·       The intersection of privacy, security, and the management and preservation of records and data             

·       The use of big data and algorithms and their impact on records management and archives 

·       Public policy and legal issues addressing the management of data, records, and archives

·       Archives and records-related legislation

·       The ethics of access, reuse, and re-contextualization of data, records, and archives

·       Privacy regulation in different culture contexts

·       New paradigms for the archives

·       Trends in digital acquisition

·       Video surveillance footage as data, records and archives

·       Preserving social media and online digital footprint of government agencies  

·       Visual and cultural analytics

·       Cloud computing

·       Blockchain and authentication technologies

·       Artificial intelligence for archival and museum research

·       Archival advocacy

·       Community, participatory, and personal archives in the digital era

·       Archives and citizen engagement

·       Role of the professional oral historian in the era of the “citizen” oral history

·       User perspectives on archives and oral history across time

·       Oral history for the digital age - best practices in access and preservation

·       Approaches to interviewing and interpretation of memory

·       Oral history for interdisciplinary studies

·       Adaptive oral history for reminiscence work in the context of an ageing population


We invite   submission of   proposals from   interested parties on any of the above topics. Other thematically-related topics not listed here, are also welcome for consideration.



Deadline for submission of proposals:                                16 November 2018               

Notification of accepted proposals:                                     7 December 2018                   

Deadline for confirmation to present at the symposium:    15   January 2019                

Symposium proper: 26 and 27 June 2019




1.     Submit proposal in English via e-mail as a MS Word file by 16 November 2018.


2.     The submission must include: 

  • Title of proposal
  • Abstract of proposal, maximum of 250 words
  • Name and Institution (where applicable) of proponents
  • Brief biodata of proponents, maximum of 250 words 

3.     The organisers will review all submitted proposals. Notifications will be sent to accepted proponents by  7  December  2018.

4.     Accepted proponents need to confirm their ability to attend and present at the symposium    by 15 January 2019.

5.     Presentation slides of the selected proposals for delivery during the symposium on 26 and 27 June 2019 are to be submitted by 3 June 2019

6.     The travel expenses, accommodation and subsistence of attending the 2019 SARBICA International Symposium are the full responsibility of the Presenters of accepted proposals.  

7.     All symposium attendees, including Presenters, are required to register and pay the registration fees as listed on the website

8.     Please contact any of the following persons to submit proposals or for any queries:

Irene Lim:


Patricia Lee:




The 2019 International Symposium of the Southeast Asia Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (SARBICA) is hosted by the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). 

Expand your networks and meet and bond with fellow professionals in the archiving field at this event.


The Symposium will have two keynote speakers namely, the illustrious expert on archival diplomatics and electronic records Dr Luciana Duranti from Canada, and the renown oral historian Dr Alistair Thomson from Australia.


You may look forward to a host of activities during the Symposium, including:


·       Workshops, 24 and 25 June:

-       Oral History Methodology

-       Archives and Oral History in Art and Theatre

-       Digital Preservation

-       Preservation of AV Materials

-       Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Heritage Collections (24 June only)


·       Symposium, 26 and 27 June


·       Trade Show, 26 and 27 June


·       Welcome Dinner, 26 June


·       Excursion, 27 June


·       Institutional Visits and Farewell Dinner,  28  June 


For registration and other details, please refer to the website: