Welcome to Archive/Counterarchive

Highlights: Archive/Counter-Archive 2019 Symposium

December 12 - 14, 2019 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto
Representative Image

Selfie with Fantastic Finds attendees!


A/CA Project Director Janine Marchessault with Symposium Keynotes Juana Suárez and Ross Lipman


Student Researchers at A/CA's 2019 Symposium (L-R: Kyler Chittick, Barbara Matthews, Theo Xenophontos, Michael Marlatt, Mark Barber, Kyla Smith, Axelle Demus, Prakash Krishnan, Anne-Marie Trépanier)


Archive/Counter-Archive held its 2019 Symposium at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from December 12 - 14, 2019.

The Symposium featured free Keynote Presentations open to the public featuring Ross Lipman and Juana Suárez, as well as meeting sessions between the A/CA network, panel presentations, and a special private screening of archival finds. 

Over 70 A/CA project participants gathered from across Canada, including artists, archivists, researchers, and team members from artist-run centres, memory institutions, and academic institutions. 

See the full Symposium Schedule and the Fantastic Finds Archival Screening Program below, followed by highlights and photos:


A/CA 2019 Symposium Schedule

Fantastic Finds Archival Screening Program


The Symposium began with an evening Keynote Presentation by independent artist-restorationist Ross Lipman, presenting his spectacular live essay The Exploding Digital Inevitable and Bruce Conner's Crossroads.

Ross Lipman presenting The Exploding Digital Inevitable and Bruce Conner's Crossroads
Ross Lipman presenting The Exploding Digital Inevitable and Bruce Conner's Crossroads. Photo by Philip Hoffman.

Day 2 of the Symposium featured a full day of activities for A/CA participants!

Axelle Demus and Michael Marlatt assisting with registration
A/CA Student Researchers Axelle Demus and Michael Marlatt assisting with registration

The morning began with opening remarks from A/CA Project Director Janine Marchessault:

JM Opening Remarks
Opening remarks by A/CA Project Director Janine Marchessault

Following Marchessault's remarks were check-in meetings between A/CA Case Studies, Working Groups, Student Researchers and Community Partners; as well as a special discussion on A/CA's Principles of Respect. A/CA's Principles of Respect Committee and the A/CA Management Committee are identifying key areas for the Principles of Respect document, similar to a Charter of Rights.

Discussions were chaired by Principles of Respect Committee members Ben Donoghue, Jennifer Dysart, and ME Luka. Topics that guided the discussions include:

  • Indigenous Protocols

  • Remuneration & Labour of Being Studied 

  • Respectful Recognition & Permission 

  • Community Organizations + Academy Relationships 

  • Accessibility

  • Power and Intersectional Understandings of Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

The Principles of Respect will be an ongoing and living document guided by the work produced by the Case Studies and Working Groups, which will continue to grow throughout the project.

Next was an invigorating Keynote Presentation by NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program director Juana Suárez, "From Footnote to Main Text: Working with Minor Audiovisual Archives in Latin America."

Juana Suárez Keynote
Juana Suárez delivering her Keynote Presentation. Photo by ME Luka.


Archives are evolving places shaped by migration, displacement, technology, and movement...

Juana Suárez

The afternoon featured two special sessions for A/CA participants:

Case Study Panel
L-R: Stephanie Poruchnyk-Butler, Angelina McLeod, Jennifer VanderBurgh, Andrew Burke

Session #1: Case Study Panel – Active Research in the Field



Session #2
L-R: Debbie Ebanks Schlums, Tamara Lang, Susan Lord, Natalka Pucan, Jennifer Dysart

Session #2: Community & Artists Engaging in Archives – Research Creation


The day concluded with a private evening screening, "Fantastic Finds," programmed by A/CA Research Associate and Project Manager Aimée Mitchell with submissions from across the A/CA network.

The screening brought together glimpses into a wide range of moving image collections from across Canada, including: personal home movies, under-screened works from Artist-Run Centre collections, a colonial ghost buried in the permafrost from Dawson City, a recovered unfinished film, and a production by the first all-Indigenous film unit in Canada.

A/CA Research Associate and Project Manager Aimée Mitchell presenting Fantastic Finds

The final day of the Symposium featured feedback and next steps regarding the Principles of Respect discussions, as well as updates from Case Study and Working Group leads.

The Symposium was also the first time that students from our partner universities (York University, Ryerson University, Queen's University, and Concordia University) gathered together in person! We look forward to the initiatives the A/CA Student Committee will bring in the coming years.

A/CA Students
A/CA Student Researchers L-R: Kyler Chittick, Barbara Matthews, Theo Xenophontos, Michael Marlatt, Mark Barber, Kyla Smith, Axelle Demus, Prakash Krishnan, Anne-Marie Trépanier

On behalf of the A/CA Team, we would like to thank all of our attendees, our Keynote Presenters Ross Lipman and Juana Suárez, and the TIFF team. Stay tuned for A/CA's upcoming activities in 2020!