Summary — The First International Council on Archives Conference in Africa – Yaoundé 2018

The 2018 conference of the International Council on Archives (ICA) was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in November and as is customary, ACARM held its AGM during the conference. Although the AGM was well attended by members, only two of the executive were present, so the meeting was not quorate. Nevertheless, the meeting provided an opportunity for members to discuss the future and priorities of the association. (See the message from the Chair for more on this).

The ICA conference programme featured ACARM members prominently. One of the keynote speakers in the opening plenary session was ACARM member Prof. Justus Wamukoya of Moi University, Kenya. Speaking in his capacity as co-chair of the ICA’s Africa programme, he described the successes with the programme since it was launched in 2015. One of its deliverables was the Yaoundé conference itself – the first ICA annual onference in Africa since the end of the CITRA round table format.

The Forum of National Archivists (FAN) met during the conference. ACARM member Jeff James, the UK’s national archivist and the President of FAN, invited James Lowry, ACARM’s Chair, and Njörður Sigurðsson, the chair of the ICA’s Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage, to talk to FAN about displaced archives, which was an opportunity to promote ACARM’s position paper on the Migrated Archives. Their presentations were well-received by the national archivists. Other ACARM members were heavily involved in a panel discussion on displaced archives, including the organiser of the panel, Mandy Banton, who co-authored ACARM’s position paper, and Prof Nathan Mnjama of the University of Botswana, who has been working on the question of migrated archives since the late 1970s.

After the conference finished, James Lowry joined Margaret Crockett to lead a two-day workshop on digital records management and preservation. They provided hands-on training in digital record-keeping methods, including file profiling, metadata cross-walking and preservation planning. The workshop was attended by approximately 20 people, many of them ACARM members from across Africa.

We look forward to seeing similar levels of ACARM participation in the next ICA conference, which will be held in Adelaide, Australia, 21 to 25 October 2019.

ACARM members David Fricker (ICA President and Director-General, National Archives of Australia), Bonface Odhiambo (Archivist, United States International University – Africa, Kenya) and Prof. Justus Wamukoya (Dean, School of Information Science, Moi University, Kenya)

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