At the 2023 Annual Conference, members of the community were recognized for their contributions to the ACA. Thank you to all who took time to nominate and support volunteers who undertake important work throughout the year for the association. Congratulations to the Archivaria Award winners and to the Emerging Professionals who presented their work in Charlottetown.
The Association of Canadian Archivists Fellow is the highest recognition award granted to members of our community for distinguished service to the Canadian archival community and the ACA. Fellows are selected based on their longstanding membership and service to the ACA and demonstrated achievement in the archival profession, which may include leadership in the field, scholarship, and other outstanding contributions that have a cumulative impact.
Welcome to Dr. Greg Bak as the newest ACA Fellow. Dr. Bak entered the archival profession in 2007 as the Senior Digital Archivist at Library and Archives Canada. He held previous archival and information professional positions with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, the HIV/AIDS Affiliate of the Canadian Health Network, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.
In 2011, he became a faculty member in the Department of History in the University of Manitoba’s Archival Studies program. He is currently an associate professor and, since 2018, the MA program’s sole professor. His leadership in the Archival Studies program is highly lauded and Dr. Bak has become an important educator and mentor in the Canadian archival field. To date he has supervised 25 completed Master’s theses, with many more underway, acted as an internal and external examiner for over 30 additional theses, as well as the addition of supervising new students in doctoral studies. Despite having such an enormous workload as the “lone arranger” in the University of Manitoba archival studies program, Dr. Bak, in the words of Shelley Sweeney, one of his nominators, “approaches each task with dedication and extraordinary enthusiasm as well as patience, sympathy, and understanding for his students.” His leadership at the University of Manitoba has also brought about new course development including curriculum designed for the undergraduate level, a first for that university. These new courses have provided a new and wider audience for our field and a much needed greater public understanding of contemporary archival issues.
His leadership also extends of course to many years of volunteerism within the ACA. In 2013 and 2018, Dr. Bak served on the Program Committees for our annual conference, was on the editorial board of Archivaria from 2014-2019, sat on the Strategic Planning Task Force from 2018-2019, and on the Education Committee from 2017-2022. Outside of the ACA, Dr. Bak has also served on a number of committees for the Association of Manitoba Archives, including the Education Committee, the Advocacy Committee’s Subcommittee on the City of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, and the New Home for the City of Winnipeg Archives Committee from 2015 to the present. More broadly, he contributed to the Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network in 2012 and he also served as an editor, along with Tom Nesmith and Joan Schwartz (also now both Fellows of the ACA) on the book All Shook Up: The Archival Legacy of Terry Cook, published by the Society of American Archivists in 2020.
Dr. Bak’s research and writing has also extended to archival advocacy and outreach outside of our professional communities through blogs, community publications, research reports, and volunteerism. From 2013-2015 he served on the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre’s Expert Advisory Board on Archives and from 2014-2017, he served on the Mennonite Heritage Centre’s Archives Reference Committee.
Dr. Bak’s own scholarly research has and continues to contribute much to the Canadian archival studies canon, including developing work on holistic approaches to digital archives modeling. He has researched and published extensively on digital archives, digital records history, decolonization, ethics, privacy, appraisal, description, and community archives. His digital archives expertise gave weight to the decision to preserve the largely digital archives of the Truth and Reconciliation Archives with the University of Manitoba. He has published extensively in our own Archivaria, the American Archivist, the Journal of Archival Organization, Archives and Records, and Archival Science. He is a member of the interPARES research group studying artificial intelligence and in 2020 and 2021 was an invited member of the Royal Society of Canada’s study group that published a report on archival issues resulting from the pandemic.
His interest in digital archiving has led to his steady production of scholarly articles and presentations here in Canada and abroad. In 2022, Dr. Bak held a residency at Aalbourg University’s Department of Politics and Society in Denmark as well as a residency at the Centre for Digital History Aarhus (CEDAR) at Aarhus University. His work with his Danish colleagues has led to the co-editing of the book The Nordic Model of Digital Archiving, due for publication this year.
Dr. Bak’s contributions to the Canadian archival field are certainly not complete and I’m sure we will continue to see his impact, whether through his own scholarship, his guidance of new archivists, or his volunteerism, for many years to come. In inducting him as a Fellow today we recognize his already longstanding and distinguished service to the Association of Canadian Archivists, our profession, and the Canadian and international archival professional communities. Congratulations Dr. Bak.
The Membership Recognition Award is given annually to any member of the Association who has provided significant contributions to the archival profession and who has supported the aims of the ACA. The award seeks to “recognize, celebrate, and encourage the professional achievements, contributions and excellence of ACA members in the field of archival practice.”
As the 2023 honoree of the Membership Recognition Award, Jennifer Mohan, was a leader in the establishment of the program in 2003, including acting as a mentor herself from 2003-2016. Ms. Mohan recognized the importance of mentoring within a community so geographically dispersed as well as the need to provide support for new archivists, especially those working in smaller institutions. An archivist since 1992, Ms. Mohan has played an active role in not only the ACA but also the Archives Association of British Columbia, ARMA, the Canadian Council of Archives, and the Northwestern Ontario Archivists’ Association. Within the ACA, she has served on seven different committees, as both a member and chair, for over 20 plus years. The ACA and our profession have benefited greatly from her leadership and enthusiasm in advocating for our profession. All of her nominators emphasized how quick she is to not only volunteer but to come to the table with an open-mind and solutions. Ms. Mohan has consistently proven her dedication to the advancement and promotion of the archival profession and Canadian archives in general.
Congratulations to Jennifer Mohan, recipient of the 2023 Membership Recognition Award.
The Larry Dohey Award acknowledges an ACA member (individual or organization) whose work has fostered public awareness of archives, records management and record keeping. Named in honor of Larry Dohey, longtime director of programming and public engagement of the Rooms, the Award recognizes Advocacy and Outreach work that is particularly impactful and has raised public consciousness of the value of archives.
The 2023 recipient of the Larry Dohey Award is the Association of Manitoba Archives’ New Home for the City of Winnipeg Archives Committee, a dedicated group of archivists who have taken on the monumental task of securing a future for the city’s documentary heritage. To acknowledge the work of this group, we’ll turn to a video provided by the Committee.
The purpose of this award is to recognize the accomplishments, dedication and spirit of those new to the field of archives and records management. The award highlights the leadership qualities of an early career professional, in particular an individual who has demonstrated service to the Canadian archival community and who displays passion and enthusiasm for the archival profession.
This year's recipient of the New Professional Award is Melissa J. Nelson, archivist, researcher, writer, and educator, currently working with the Archives of Ontario. Melissa graduated with an MLIS from McGill University’s School of Information Studies in 2020. Since then, Melissa has developed and delivered numerous workshops and lectures for archivists and records managers on reparative description, description and access for anti-Black archival materials, and working and teaching with racist archival materials. Her work is much in demand and over the last three years, literally hundreds of our archival colleagues have benefitted from her dedication to improving our profession’s understanding of our responsibility to build and protect equity, diversity, and inclusivity in our work and in our collections. Her post, “Archiving Hate: Racist Materials in Archives” is quickly becoming a staple resource for institutions developing equity practices and policies.
Her podcast, Archives and Things, which she launched in 2022, explores archival practice in Canada, particularly the ethics of care in the management and preservation of anti-Black archival materials and the experiences of Black culture, communities, and individuals in and using archives. Her interviews with researchers and archivists amplify the significance of current research, the role of community archives, and advocacy work in general.
In the words of one of her nominators, “her contributions to the archival profession have already been profoundly significant and she’s just getting started”. We are grateful for the work she has accomplished so far in her emerging career and we look forward to seeing what the future years bring to her as an individual and also to the Canadian archival field. Congratulations Melissa.
The Honorary Archivist Award is presented to an individual or corporate body that is not an archivist themselves but that has made significant contributions to the archival community, has demonstrated a commitment to the profession, or has advanced the goals and objectives of the ACA.
This year’s recipient of the 2023 Honorary Archivist Award is Christina Nichols, outgoing director of the Canadian Council of Archives. Despite not being an archivist by training, Christina’s dedication to her role included immersing herself in our professional community, efforts that benefited Canadian archives greatly as she was able to use this knowledge in her shepherding of the CCA through both good and bad times.
In her capacity as Executive Director of the CCA, a role which she began in 2003, Christina demonstrated remarkable leadership of that organization as well within the National Archival Appraisal Board. During her tenure at CCA, Christina’s leadership and management supported our community’s work in upgrading standards for description, advocacy work in copyright law consultations and lobbying, and the growing of the Young Canada Works program to the benefit of so many of our Canadian archives and thousands of students.
One of Christina’s most notable contributions has been extensive networking and collaboration between our provincial, territorial, and national associations and councils – seeking to bring visions together to support advocacy and lobbying efforts on major issues effecting the Canadian archival community.
Since announcing her departure from CCA, many across our community have voiced their appreciation for your decades of work on behalf of Canadian archives. Her nomination for this award is a demonstration of this appreciation. Congratulations to Christina Nichols, 2023 recipient of the ACA Honorary Archivist Award.
Public Awareness & Advocacy