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Monday, August 5 • 10:30am - 11:45am
610 - Neurodiversity in Archives [Working Group]

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Neurodiversity has been a neglected topic in both archival scholarship and archival practice. The American Archivist, Archivaria, and the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies have yet to publish an article on neurodiversity, and have published only a handful of articles on specific neurodivergent conditions. The SAA conference programs since 2016 have not included any of the following words: neurodiversity, neurodiverse, autism, autistic, dyslexia, and dyslexic.  Moreover, terms associated with neurodiversity rarely appear in finding aids, and few archives have made intentional efforts to collect materials associated with neurodiversity.  More importantly, although many of us have archivist friends that are neurodivergent, few archivists have felt safe to publicly disclose and self-advocate in professional settings.
For these reasons, the organizers of this working group believe that the archives profession will strongly benefit from an intentional effort to discuss, and then publish articles and white papers on neurodiversity in archives. The facilitators will begin by providing overviews of the Disability Rights and Neurodiversity movements.

Afterward, we will introduce the following three topics:
  • Hiring, training, and retaining neurodivergent employees in archives
  • Producing a safer, more welcoming environment in archives for neurodivergent employees and researchers
  • Encouraging archives to collect materials related to the history of the neurodiversity movement and experience of neurodivergent populations.

We will then solicit additional issues for discussion. The session will conclude by assigning participants into groups to work on a specific topic. The goal is for each group to produce documentation to help make archives friendlier to neurodivergent populations.

This working group is dedicated to making archives and the archival profession more welcoming for neurodivergent people.

Our goals are fourfold:
  • To increase awareness about neurodiversity in the profession through this event and subsequent publication of theoretical and practical resources  
  • To influence and inform archival education and workplace practices so that more neurodivergent people can enter and thrive in the profession 
  • To increase the number of resources about neurodiversity, neurodivergent conditions, and disability in general in archives
  • To spark research about neurodiversity both inside and beyond the archival profession

Chair/Co-Facilitator: Eric Hung
Co-Facilitator: Lydia Tang
Note-Taker: Chris Tanguay

avatar for Eric Hung

Eric Hung

Executive Director, Music of Asian America Research Center
Executive Director for the Music of Asian America Research Center and previously a Professor of Music History at Rider University. He received a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford and an MLIS in Archives & Digital Curation from University of Maryland.
avatar for Lydia Tang

Lydia Tang

Dr. Lydia Tang, Special Collections Archivist-Librarian, Michigan State University. She served on SAA?s Task Force to Revise Best Practices for Accessibility in Archives and spearheaded founding SAA?s Accessibility & Disability Section.
avatar for Chris Tanguay

Chris Tanguay

Collections Associate, MIT Department of Distinctive Collections

Monday August 5, 2019 10:30am - 11:45am CDT
301/302, [Level 3]