AERI 2013: iSchool Hosts Major National Archiving Conference

In mid-June, the iSchool hosted AERI, a major national conference for doctoral students in archival studies and Ph.D.'s who are beginning professional careers in archiving. Drawing over one hundred archives doctoral candidates and archival educators, the Archival Education and Research Institute conference featured five days of presentations, workshops and field trips. While most student participants are from the U.S., others came from as far away as New Zealand, Canada, China, Korea, and Australia.

These new Ph.D.'s are the ones who will add to the theoretical base that makes the discipline of archival studies possible. - Dr. Patricia Galloway

The AERI conference was created in 2009 through the efforts of a consortium of eight university Ph.D. programs in archival studies, of which UT is a member, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the Laura Bush Librarians for the Twenty-First Century initiative. The conference encouraged students to focus on mentoring and networking with faculty and peers. The intensive, collegial environment fostered research partnerships and professional collaborations between students and senior archival educators.

During the conference, students presented research papers which were critiqued by archival studies faculty. Participants also took tours of several archives on the UT campus and around Austin. A new AERI event this year offered an evening at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz Theatre and featured film clips with commentary from archives around Austin, emphasizing the local archival scene. A favorite highlight for many attendees was the Texas Capitol tour presented by iSchool Professor Emeritus David Gracy.

"Most people don't realize this, but Archival Studies as an area of doctoral study in the United States has not been around all that long," said Patricia Galloway, a professor in the iSchool. "The current ranks of archival educators are aging and we need to support and grow a new generation. This event's quite significant," said Galloway. "Prior to the conference, the only place where doctoral students and educators could easily network was at the annual Society of American Archivists meeting. AERI provides five days of intensive interaction each year instead of a few hours at a roundtable. These new Ph.D.'s are the ones who will add to the theoretical base that makes the discipline of archival studies possible."