Report from the Association des archivistes Français Forum

IAART is happy to have French archivist Céline Fernandez provide a report on the Association des archivistes français annual meeting. At the moment she is working as a municipal archivist for two cities near Grenoble and volunteering at ICA, as their community manager and a translator. She is also an executive member of the Expert Group on Advocacy.
The Association des archivistes français held its second Forum[1] “Meta/morphoses: les archives, bouillon de culture numérique”[2] in Troyes, a city located in the French Champagne region, from March 30 to April 1st. Attendance was around 875 participants, from France as well as Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. The hashtag #AAFTroyes2016 and #AAFTroyes16 were very active during the conference.

affichemetamorphosesThe program was intense – 15 sessions with 90 presentations and workshops divided in 5 themes. Due to the short conference, there were many overlapping sessions and most of the speakers were running late so I was unable to attend everything I wanted to see. Besides the Congress Center, though a very practical and convenient facility, was fully occupied for the first time since opening its doors (archivists rule!) and we sometimes had to run from one side to another to find the rooms.

I managed to attend presentations from the 5 themes, which were :
– Digital archiving
– Archivist : one profession, several jobs
– Identifying, describing and sharing data
– New use(r)s
– Archival access, communication, dissemination and reuse

The forum got off to a good start with a highly specialized (and philosophical) opening presentation, entitled “Archives and data massification: a new digital reason?”. The quality of the following presentations did not wane and I was very content with almost everything I saw. I updated my legal knowledge, I received feedback from colleagues and institutions who built and manage digitization projects at various levels, I attended the presentation connecting archives to social media, I recognized myself in the presentations depicting the archivists metamorphosis, I got to meet some colleagues I heard a lot about but never had the opportunity to meet before and to meet again some colleagues I seldom see.

In a nutshell, it was a successful professional forum, with rich content, a great organization and friendly exchanges.

arton2464-11817There was also a selection of social events: exhibitions, museum and site tours, welcoming reception and gala dinner…but the more thrilling of all was a heraldic geocaching that allowed you to visit Troyes, which is a pretty medium-sized city. Unfortunately my friends and I didn’t manage to finish it but we had a lot of fun.

Last but not least, we enjoyed the local gastronomy: andouillettes, Champagne, and local cheeses (Chaource and Langres). Funny thing, in France in the archival fielstacks-image-logo5a_-160d we have what we call the 4C (Collecte collection, Classement processing, Conservation, Communication) – in Troyes they have the 5A (Association Amicale des Amateurs d’Andouillette Authentique Amicable Association of Authentic Andouillette Enthusiasts).

[1] The first Forum was held in Angers in 2013

[2] « Meta/morphosis : archives, digital culture broth »

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