As I write this, I am comfortably reflecting on my back-to-back conference weekends. I survived the SIA-finals-LOEX timeframe that loomed ahead of me for so long! In the next few days I’ll write about LOEX. In this post, I’d like to share my experience at the Society of Indiana Archivists Annual Meeting that occurred Saturday, April 28th, a week and a half ago.
The whole process started late in the fall semester, when the SIA call for proposals came through the SLIS listserv. The theme for the meeting was outreach. My close friend Sarah was actually the brilliant one who put the pieces together and thought, hey, of our little group of friends… we all work in archives or special collections. She approached myself and two others to put a proposal together. Our abstract focused on the fact that we were graduate students trying out different outreach tactics. We were delighted when it was accepted!
When I drove up to Indy with Sarah on the dreary Saturday morning of the 28th, I was certainly looking forward to having our presentation behind us. We had all prepared well and none of us were abnormally nervous, so presenting at the conference wasn’t a huge stressor. However, finishing our SIA presentation was the first step toward finishing my spring semester as a whole. Additionally, my hang-up about conference presentations is always audience. What context are the audience members coming from? Am I benefiting them in any way with what I am sharing? On and on. I think this audience neurosis has developed from both my background in rhetorical studies and the many memorably awkward presentations I’ve been exposed to in the past. I try to remind myself that awareness of this is a good thing, and it will hopefully keep my presentations as sharp as they can be.
We arrived around 9am, eyed up the pastries, and attended the first session. Ours was next! Soon enough we were up and ready to go. While originally I was going to talk about the Lilly during my allotted portion of our 50-minute session, I realized after the Society of American Archivists-Student Chapter conference in March that it could be useful to talk about Twitter as an outreach tool… namely because of all the mistakes I had made when trying to use it to promote the conference. Because we each had less than 10 minutes to talk, a concept that could be streamlined was valuable. My co-presenters discussed their experiences curating displays at the Kinsey, giving tours of the IU Art Museum registrar’s office, and finding ways to publicize a record sale at the Archive of Traditional Music. We concluded by talking about the results of a survey we had created that sought information on SLIS student use of the IU-B archives–a highly specialized group, of course, but we were able to extract some useful data possibly reflective of the age group: factors that persuaded or dissuaded students from using an archive and the like. (If anyone is interested in our survey or wants to see our presentation slides, I’d be happy to share! Just comment below or email me.)
Overall, the presentation went really well. My co-presenters sounded great and I could tell as I went through my portion that it was just flowing. While talking, I remembered how much I enjoy public speaking and reminded myself that it’s never quite as nervewracking as it seems (at least, not if you prepare well enough). Afterward we had several audience questions that led us right up to our end time, and two were directed at me! My concerns about not being relevant to our audience dissipated.
Here are a few photos from SIA.
|What the room we presented in looked like in the interim period between the first presentation and ours, leaving me wondering whether we would have any observers! (We did. Several from IU-B came to support us, plus many new faces.)|
|Sarah, me, Valerie, Taylor: successful SIA presenters!|
|Sarah and I couldn’t resist getting a photo with the new SIA banner after lunch.|
|SIA swag and the adorable bundle of candy given to me by Sarah as pre-finals preparation.|