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Save-the-Date and CFP for the 2nd Global Audiovisual Archiving Conference

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2nd Global Audiovisual Archiving Conference: Building Alliances
Toronto, Canada, 12th - 14th July 2024
Presented by Archive/Counter-Archive, Eye Filmmuseum, and the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF)
Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2023

2024 Conference Theme: Building Alliances

(A)rchival endeavors should not be about documenting the past, nor even about imagining the future…but about building a liberatory now. 

-Michelle Caswell, Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work (2021, 13)

(T)he archival impulse could be recast… as the possibility of creating alliances: between text and image, between major and minor institutions, between filmmakers, photographers, writers and computers, between online and offline practices, between the remnant and what lies in reserve, between time and the untimely. These are alliances against dissipation and loss, but also against the enclosure, privatization and thematisation of archives, which are issues of global, and immediate, concern.

- Pad.ma, “10 Theses on the Archive” (2010) https://pad.ma/documents/OH

The biennial Global Audiovisual Archiving Conference is an opportunity for scholars, archivists, artists, curators, filmmakers, students, and film enthusiasts from across the world to gather and explore contemporary professional, artistic, and socio-political issues affecting audiovisual heritage today. The aim of the conference is to broaden the knowledge and connections within the global archival community, leading to new insights into the material and cultural resonances of archival approaches to sound and moving image in different parts of the world.

Audiovisual archives are being redefined by the communities who care for and use them. In the 21st century, new names for archival collections and new approaches to archives are helping to shape collective histories, often informed by a plurality of regional, local, activist, and cultural communities rather than broadly based nationalist identities. These are fostering new understandings of what it means to “decolonize memory institutions” such as public archives, cultural memory centres, galleries, and museums (Thorkelson, 2019) as well as de facto repositories or accidental archives (Cheeka, 2023) such as media distribution centres, co-ops, academic institutions, and public libraries – not to mention all kinds of private and personal archives. The problems that smaller archives face include a lack of space for storage, funds to access digitization technologies (Declercq, 2020; Suárez, 2021), and the specialised labour, informed by archival training in best practices that are often required to safeguard material histories, especially those carried by analogue and born-digital media (Jaillant, 2022; Liebermann, 2021; Moravec, 2021). Often these “best practices” are drawn by richer institutions, without due consideration of or engagement with the contexts, resources, and politics of other regions. Equally important is the reuse and co-creation of media that activates archival materials in novel ways for contemporary audiences in a way that ensures their longevity.    
There is no doubt that the practices of “doing archives” are “on fire” around the world  (Caswell, 2021; Chew et al., 2018; Paalman et al., 2021). 

The 2nd Global Audiovisual Archiving Conference invites papers and presentations in a variety of formats that address the challenges and generative opportunities afforded by diverse media archives, from those that are publicly/privately funded to those surviving on very little support. We are especially interested in marginalised audiovisual archives, whether collections vulnerable to disappearance and inaccessibility or archives that are invisible and need to come into being. Central to our conference is the importance of identifying gaps in the field, building bridges, creating archival networks, fostering collaborations (Pretlove, 2021), and uncovering or deepening alliances (Heidiger et al., 2021). Such approaches may be tied to designing practices of care (Campanini, 2023) and pedagogical approaches for the next generation of archivists, artists, activists, humanists, and historians in ways that are inclusive, expansive, liberatory, and that might reinvent and redefine archival language and protocols. The conference also explores the emergence of theoretical questions, and novel ways of understanding history through notions of entanglement (Namhila and Hillebrecht, 2022) and redefinitions of allyship and stewardship that mark a critical paradigm shift in the field of archival studies.

We encourage proposals from participants located in parts of the world and on topics that are underrepresented in conferences related to audiovisual heritage.

The programming committee will be especially interested in proposals that address the following topics which include but are not limited to:

Specialist Archives

  • Human rights frameworks and archives; activist archives; social justice 
  • Archival protocols and languages of Indigenous and other communities of traditional knowledge; living archives and ancestral memory; decolonizing practice and policy
  • Women’s archives and networks and feminist ethics of care
  • Queer LGBTQS+ archives and collaborations
  • Critical disabilities in the archives; building accessible archives
  • Mobile archival engagements with remote or underserved communities
  • Enriching metadata on sensitive objects; improving metadata language(s) for enhancing access and collaboration on a global scale

New Approaches to Archiving

  • Decolonizing the archive; decolonial and postcolonial approaches to archiving and archival studies
  • Sustainable approaches to archiving: environments, climate change and disappearing archives, planetary archives
  • Identifying archives at risk and sharing resources 
  • Developing new networks, kinships, collaborations, and alliances; sharing resources across political/cultural, economic, and geographic spheres 
  • Transnational, transcontinental, translocal archival projects and networks
  • Global repatriation efforts across borders and governments; digital forms of repatriation
  • New approaches to archival pedagogy; training the next generation of archivists
  • Participatory and communal forms of archiving; building sustainable cooperative projects in AV archiving; recognizing the invisible labour(ers) at the archive
  • Addressing financial inequality across archives across borders in neoliberal contexts; finding alternatives to neo colonial financial structures

Theoretical and Activation Insights

  • Creative activations of archives through artist residencies and community collaborations
  • Building bridges between academic, archival, and cultural communities that use archives
  • Theory building: what can we learn from the new theoretical questions (ontology of the archives), and creative artistic approaches to working with archives? 
  • The alternate histories of audiovisual heritage and culture thanks to new, inclusive archival practices
  • The future of archives and archiving; new approaches to digitization; digital archives, platforms, and repositories

Submission Guidelines

You can submit your proposal for a single paper or panel format (panel, roundtable, poster, etc.) online via the Google Form linked below. Proposals received by 1 October 2023 will receive full consideration, and acceptance results will be sent out in December 2023. Among other information, the form will ask for the following:

  • A short biography for all the participating speakers.
  • An abstract for your presentation that will appear in the conference program if your presentation is accepted.
  • A list of your required A/V equipment and details (title, date, length, etc.) for any media you will be presenting. 

We welcome presentations in a wide range of formats, including the following:

  • Report or Paper Presentation: Fully prepared papers/reports of 15 minutes that will be grouped with cognate presentations on the panel, with time for Q&A.
  • Panel: A 50-minute session consisting of a panel of three to four individuals who discuss a variety of theories or perspectives on the given topic. Panels are up to 40 minutes of presentation with 10 minutes of Q&A.
  • Show-and-Tell: A 10-minute short presentation of a case study or archival material with 5 minutes of Q&A.
  • Roundtable Discussion: A 50-minute session of informal presentations on a general subject area. Proposals in this category normally include a facilitator who will moderate the session and any discussion.
  • Screening Session: A 50-minute screening presentation. The session may include speakers/discussion along with a program of films/media.
  • Poster Presentation: A 5-minute pre-recorded session with a poster image. The poster image will be posted on the conference website. Posters are scheduled five per session slot, and all poster presenters are required to participate in the live Q&A during their session.
  • Evening Screenings: A film program or feature film with a short introduction.

We may discuss with presenters appropriate alteration of a proposed format or duration when this makes curatorial sense for the programme as a whole.

We will consider a number of live or recorded video presentations for those who may be unable to or who choose not to travel. Please direct any questions you may have about your proposal or the submission process to globalarchiving@gmail.com

Proposal Submission Form:


Travel Grant Program 

We have established a limited number of travel grants for speakers at the Global Audiovisual Archiving Conference. The grants, up to $500 each, can be used to partially offset registration and travel costs. To apply, please complete the final Travel Grant Application section of the proposal form, where you will be asked to submit a brief paragraph outlining your financial need and how attending the conference will contribute to your professional development. Please email any questions you might have about these travel grants to globalarchiving@gmail.com.


For this edition, we offer a hybrid conference format to accommodate everyone.  Please note that all presenters must register for the conference and that we do not provide registration or financial compensation for speakers, with the exception of a limited number of travel grants.

Program Committee

  • Keith Bennie (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • May Chew (Concordia University)
  • Almudena Escobar López (Toronto Metropolitan University)
  • Giovanna Fossati (Eye Filmmuseum/University of Amsterdam)
  • Susan Lord (Queen’s University)
  • Janine Marchessault (York University)
  • Natania Sherman (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Genne Speers (CFMDC / York University )
  • Michael Zryd (York University)

Advisory Board

  • Ines Aisengart Menezes (Witness)
  • Carolina Cappa (Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola)
  • Karen Chan (Asian Film Archive)
  • Martino Cipriani (RMIT University Saigon / University of Amsterdam)
  • Tamer El Said (Cimatheque - Alternative Film Centre)
  • Anne Gant (Eye Filmmuseum)
  • Maral Mohsenin (Geneva International Film Festival)
  • Judith Opoku-Boateng (University of Ghana)
  • Nour Ouayda (Filmmaker & Researcher)
  • Asli Ozgen Havekotte (University of Amsterdam)
  • Floris Paalman (University of Amsterdam)
  • Lisabona Rahman (Freelance Moving Image Preservation and Presentation Consultant)
  • Aboubakar Sanogo (Carleton University)
  • Gerdien Smit (Eye Filmmuseum)
  • Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art)
  • Juana Suárez (New York University / APEX)
  • Eleni Tzialli (Eye Filmmuseum)
  • Nadine Valcin (Sheridan College)

This event is organised by Archive/Counter-Archive in collaboration with Eye Filmmuseum and the Toronto International Film Festival.



Pad.ma. "10 Theses on the Archive: Pad.ma April 2010, Beirut." In Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey, 352–363. London & New York: I.B.Tauris, 2015.

Campanini, Sonia. “Accidental Encounters, Incidental Care, and Shared Archival Practices.” In Accidental Archivism: Shaping Cinema’s Futures with Remnants of the Past, edited by Vinzenz Hediger and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus. Lüneburg: meson press, 2023. https://archivism.meson.press/chapters/i-never-wanted-to-be-an-archivist-accidental-archivism-and-biographical-turning-points/accidental-encounters-incidental-care-and-shared-archival/.

Caswell, Michelle. Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work. London: Routledge, 2021.

Cheeka, Didi. “Accidental Archivism: A Necessary Accident.” In Accidental Archivism: Shaping Cinema’s Futures with Remnants of the Past, edited by Vinzenz Hediger and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus. Lüneburg: meson press, 2023. https://archivism.meson.press/chapters/i-never-wanted-to-be-an-archivist-accidental-archivism-and-biographical-turning-points/accidental-archivism-a-necessary-accident/

Chew, May, Susan Lord, and Janine Marchessault. “Introduction.” PUBLIC 57 (2018): 5.

Declercq, Brecht. “Feels Like Heaven: Five Major Challenges for Audiovisual Archives in the Era of ‘Full Digitisation.” Flash: News from ICA, 39 (2020): 3-4.

Hediger, Vinzenz, Cheeka, Didi, and Sonia Campanini. “Reconfiguring the Audiovisual Heritage: Lessons from Nigeria.” The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, 21, no. 1-2 (2021): 55-76. 

Jaillant, Lise. “How can we make born-digital and digitised archives more accessible? Identifying obstacles and solutions.” Archival Science 22 (2022): 417-436.

Liebermann, Yvonne. “Born digital: The Black lives matter movement and memory after the digital turn.” Memory Studies 14, no 4 (2021): 713-732. 

Moravec, Michelle. "Feminist Research Practices and Digital Archives." Archives and New Modes of Feminist Research, edited by Maryanne Dever, 186-201. London: Routledge, 2020.

Ndeshi Namhila, Ellen, and Werner Hillebrecht. “Archival Entanglements: Colonial Rule and Records in Namibia.” Disputed Archival Heritage, edited by James Lowry, 192-210. London: Routledge, 2022.

Paalman, Floris, Giovanna Fossati and Eef Masson. “Introduction: Activating the Archive.” The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, 21, no. 1 & 2 (2021): 1-25.

Pretlove, Lee. “Archives, Activism and Social Media: Building Networks for Effective Collaboration and Ethical Practice.” Archives and Manuscripts 46, no. 2 (2018): 239-241. 

Suárez, Juana. "New Buildings, New Pathways: Toward Dynamic Archives in Latin America and the Caribbean." The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, 21, no. 1 & 2 (2021): 26-54. 

Thorkelson, Erika. “Archives are adapting to an era of digitization and decolonization.” University Affairs. September 8, 2019. https://www.universityaffairs.ca/features/feature-article/archives-are-adapting-to-an-era-of-digitization-and-decolonization/.