amendment to original post, added June 1, 2023

One of our values as a community is offering the opportunity for open dialogue when issues are brought to our attention. In our quickness to address the concerns we received about this presentation at the 2023 Virtual Member Forum, we did not give the presenters themselves enough time to participate in a dialogue with us before determining a course of action or making a public announcement. Especially given that this was the first time we applied our Code of Conduct in this way for unintended harm, that was a regrettable omission. We greatly regret this error. As a program and a community, we learn from our missteps, and we will work to do better in the future.

There are many ways for people to discuss the work they do, according to the agreed upon norms of their communities. In this presentation, the presenters did so according to the norms of their institution and the communities they work with most closely. This situation revealed the need for the ArchivesSpace community to consider our norms for how to discuss work around addressing harmful materials in ArchivesSpace’s spaces. As a community that is striving to be more intentional about inclusion, with people from many different institutions around the world that may have many different norms, these may not always be the same as those of other spaces.

This experience has also revealed that, while our community-authored Code of Conduct is thoughtful and was initially intended to govern all aspects of how we treat each other in ArchivesSpace spaces, it has gaps when it comes to providing guidance for handling incidents of unintended harm. As a community we need to consider whether any changes are needed in the Code of Conduct, which may include developing processes outside of the Code of Conduct for some kinds of incidents.

The ArchivesSpace Governance Board is considering these issues and how to involve the larger community in future discussions. We look forward to working with you to have these important discussions, in ways that treat all of our community members with respect.

—  Christine Di Bella, ArchivesSpace Program Manager

The ArchivesSpace program aims to provide an inclusive, anti-oppressive environment where all are treated respectfully regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, age, ability, belief system, physical appearance, politics, educational attainment or technical fluency.  Based on community feedback, we recognize that the ArchivesSpace Virtual Member Forum did not always meet that standard. We would like to take this opportunity to apologize and to address our course of action following the forum and into the future.

We received two forum evaluations expressing concern about harmful language and images verbalized and displayed during the session “Contextualization and Repair at Rauner Library.”  In accordance with the ArchivesSpace Code of Conduct, ArchivesSpace Program Manager Christine Di Bella, Community Engagement Coordinator Jessica Crouch and members of the User Advisory Council Member Engagement sub-team reviewed these comments and have agreed to the following course of action:

  • Copies of the presentation recording and slides will not be made available online.
  • Going forward ArchivesSpace will require all presenters to fully redact harmful language and not use harmful images in their presentations, not just provide content warnings, regardless of the context. This applies to both written content and verbal communication during presentations and the associated Q&A.

We apologize for the harm this presentation caused.  We believe the ArchivesSpace community and application can only be made better by providing a welcoming and safe community experience for all of our members.  We dropped the ball during the forum.  We appreciate the opportunity to correct this error and move towards an even stronger and more inclusive community experience in the future.

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