Call for Proposals and Papers - ICA Abu Dhabi Congress - Closed!

ICA Congress Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 
19 – 22 October 2021 (Rescheduling)
Call for Proposals and Papers



Available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic (downloadable Arabic version at the bottom of this page)


The archival, records and data landscape in the 21st century is changing public expectations, how we do our work, what constitutes credible evidence and how we protect our holdings. It is time for our profession to discuss, reflect and challenge existing practices to explore and expand the critical role played by archives and information professionals in the 21st century knowledge societies.

The Congress ICA Abu Dhabi, Empowering Knowledge Societies, will be an opportunity for the profession from all over the world to share innovative ideas and research and for colleagues from allied and other professions to join us at this important event. We encourage the community to submit its proposals, but we would also encourage you to reach out to librarians, museum professionals, data managers, journalists and people working in civil society to be part of this conversation. The 21st century information challenges do not simply belong to archives and records professionals, they belong to everyone, so let’s share ideas, build networks to empower our knowledge societies! 

The ICA Congress Programme Committee hereby invites proposals for different types of sessions (read below) related to the following sub-themes. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Preservation and Emerging Technologies

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Open source technology and software for archives and recordkeeping
  • Digital curation
  • Big data, data preservation, and the public interest

Sustainable Knowledge

  • Sustainability of archival standards and open source tools 
  • Automated appraisal
  • Technology and technological change management
  • Control and management vs Access: building tools that serve everyone
  • Software sustainability
  • Digital preservation
  • Digital humanities and other frontiers
  • SDGs and developmental initiatives
  • Managing metadata

Trust and Evidence

  • Blockchain
  • Crowdsourcing: user-generated content and metadata
  • Automation and ethics
  • User Experts vs the Profession
  • Cybersecurity and information governance
  • Internet governance
  • The Right to be Forgotten

Any other related topics

  • User-experience initiatives
  • Access and digital innovation
  • Sustainability through community collaboration
  • Crowdsourcing​
  • Shared archival heritage 
  • Legal matters (freedom of information, access to information, data protection, intellectual property, protection of cultural property)
  • Illicit trafficking of documentary heritage
  • Ethics and archives
  • Climate change and archives
  • Training and new skills for archives and information professionals

For more details about these broad sub-themes, click here

Papers may be submitted in French, English, Arabic or Spanish. 

We request that you complete your application by no later than 29th of February 2020 (23:59:59 CET). Presenters will be notified of acceptance by the end of July 2020 (update in Arabic at the bottom of this page). The Programme Committee will only consider submissions received via OpenConf. Instructions on how to submit are contained in the submission platform.

Types of Sessions

Proposals may fall into any of the following six categories: (1) Panel Discussion; (2) Paper Presentation; (3) Co-Lab Session; (4) Lightning Talks; (5) Alternative Format; and (6) Workshops. The ICA Congress Programme Committee may accept a proposal but place it in a different category from the one initially proposed. 

  1. Panel Discussion: 90-minute session consisting of three to five individuals discussing theories or perspectives on a given topic. Panels should be inherently coherent in presenting a substantial body of research or a research question. Chair duties may be performed by one of the speakers. 
  2. Paper Presentation: 30-minute presentation of one or more speakers presenting on a topic. Presentations should allow at least 5 to 10 minutes for questions from the audience.
  3. Co-Lab Session (*): 20-minute presentation for describing in 10 minutes project, research, or collaboration initiatives in their developing or formative stages, and 10 minutes for interactive discussion and feedback from the audience. This session is intended to either solicit comment from peers or to advertise the release of a new project, dataset, or tool.
  4. Lightning Talks: 5-minute session for presenting a single project, demonstrating technology or pitching ideas, and connecting with other delegates. 
  5. Alternative Format (*): If you have innovative ideas for session formats, please include these in your proposal. Proposals in this category must: 1) specify the format and session facilitator and 2) describe briefly how the format will enhance presentation of the material. You may suggest up to four presenters for the session.
  6. Workshops: We welcome proposals for workshops lasting either a half day or a whole day integrated into the congress programme. All individuals, PCOM project managers, Expert Groups, Sections, and Regional Branches wishing to run a workshop must apply following the congress submission process. These sessions will be limited to 20-25 participants. There will be no official provision for translation; facilitators are welcome and encouraged to make their own arrangements for translation of oral and written material. Facilitators will be expected to provide a set of learning outcomes, which should be articulated in the proposal. Workshop facilitators whose proposals are chosen for delivery at the congress will be required to include a workshop evaluation in accordance with the ICA’s Training Programme procedures. The ICA Training Officer will provide support to the facilitators.

(*) Please be advised that the venue scheduled for these sessions is a flexible and adaptable space.


  • Speakers, presenters, panel members and workshop facilitators are required to register and pay a reduced fee to attend the congress, as well as cover their own travel to Abu Dhabi and accommodation costs in this city.
  • Membership of ICA is not required in order to attend or present, but ICA members enjoy a reduced registration fee.
  • Presenters do not have to be an ICA member or work in archives and records management to submit a proposal, we actively encourage professionals from other networks to challenge and inform us.
  • A limited number of bursaries to assist speakers may be available, and you should indicate with your proposal whether you will need assistance to attend the congress. 

If you require assistance, please contact