Why I Joined the ICA

Five ICA members answer our short Q&A about why they joined the ICA and what ICA membership means to them.

NICOLA LAURENT, ICA member since 2016, NPP alumni
Project Archivist, Find & Connect web resource, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne
Special Committee: Section on University and Research Institution Archives (SUV)

Why did you join the ICA? I joined the ICA in early 2016 after hearing about the ICA New Professional Programme (NPP) and the opportunity to become a member of that year’s programme and receive a bursary to attend the ICA Congress to be held in Seoul that year.

How has being an ICA member benefited you? Being an ICA member has given me so many opportunities and provided me with an international network of colleagues to learn from and grow with. I have been able to enhance my skill set as a result of being a member of the NPP, and later, the Section on University and Research Institution Archives (SUV). Becoming part of the ICA has given me the opportunity to present to international audiences - improving my presentation skills, to advocate on behalf of the needs of new professionals globally within the archival community, meet and attend presentations by archivists from all corners of the world, improve my communication skills through the authoring of articles for ICA Flash, administering the SUV blog, running the NPP Facebook page. Overall being an ICA member has opened my eyes to global archival issues and enhanced my confidence, meaning I have the conviction in myself to support and advocate for topics I find important.

What do you like most about being an ICA member? It would be a lie not to say the opportunity for international travel and to hear and meet some of the most distinguished speakers in our community is one of the things I like most about being an ICA member. But really, I would say the highlight has been connecting (online as much as in person) with the incredible and friendly international archival community. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

Why would you recommend the ICA to new professionals? I encourage all new professionals to join the ICA because it can open doors you didn’t even know existed. Even if you are unable to become part of the programme you can get involved with the sections or expert groups. There are always opportunities, but becoming a member of the ICA shouldn’t be about what the ICA can do for you, most of the opportunities come when you start thinking about what you can do for it. Become a member, send an email to the section or group you are most interested in and get involved.

SHARON ALEXANDER-GOODING, ICA member since 1994, current NPP Conference Buddy
University Archivist, The University of the West Indies (UWI)
Special Committees: Current Trustee Fund for the International Development of Archives (FIDA), Member Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Record Managers (ACARM), Member Section on University and Research Institution Archives (SUV), Former Vice President Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA).

Why did you join the ICA? As a student at UBC both Terry Eastwood and Luciana Duranti encouraged us as post-grad students to join relevant associations in our field so the group of us joined ACA, SAA and ICA as student members during our first summer of the 2 year programme. Speaking for myself once employed, I ensured that the organisations that I was involved with either joined or continued their association with ICA.

How has being an ICA member benefited you? I immediately saw many benefits, I would name just two at this time. Firstly, the networking allowed me to further understand the many situations that archivists and records managers faced in different cultural settings. This prepared me to adjust some of my theoretically based inclinations and allowed me to deal with practical circumstances whilst adhering to the principles of the profession. Secondly, the exposure to international conferences and sessions on an annual basis helps me to remain up-to-date within this fast evolving technological and legal world which impacts on how we manage our respective records.  

What do you like most about being an ICA member? The access to professional literature, the travel around the world, networking, meeting new colleagues and friends, having a chance to give back through volunteering and the opportunity to assist “less fortunate” members and countries to bring their archives and records programmes to a more acceptable level to name a few.

Why would you recommend the ICA to new professionals? It is an excellent post graduate training ground for new professionals. Joining the new professional network would support individuals new to the profession to firmly “place their feet on archival ground”, establish networks and learn from the experts in the field.

ROMÁN LESCANO, ICA member since 2012, NPP alumni
Corporate media archivist, Argentina
Special ICA Committee: Human Rights Working Group

Why did you join the ICA? I initially joined ICA back in 2012 when Anna Szlejcher, my university professor in Electronic Records at the National University of Cordoba, asked me if I would like to assist in translating the newsletter produced by the Human Rights Working Group. Soon after I discovered how vast the archives world was and how important the ICA was to channel all professional related matters and to provide long term solutions in records management.

How has being an ICA member benefited you? Being an ICA member has helped in developing my professional career in many ways, some of them include: assisting to international events, getting the latest updates in archival related issues, participating in international professional projects but specially in making good friends with colleagues from all over the world.

What do you like most about being an ICA member? My involvement with ICA has developed over the years. I first started by voluntarily translating the newsletter, then being a member of the New Professionals Programme gave me the chance to experience my first international Congress, I was then given the opportunity to facilitate my first international workshop at the 2017 ICA Conference in Mexico City and I am now handling the webspace for the ICA Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and we are also working in a very exciting project related to the Spanish language as a factor of archival content identity.

CASSIE FINDLAY, member since 2016, current NPP Conference Buddy and Mentor
Senior Analyst, Information Governance at Gap Inc.
Special ICA Committee: former member of the ICA Committee on Appraisal

Why did you join the ICA? After many years of participating in ICA events, I finally joined the ICA as an individual member when a great deal on membership was offered along with registration at the Reykjavik conference in 2015. It has been terrific to see the ICA making it easier to join in these kinds of ways in recent years.
How has being an ICA member has benefited you? Being a member means that I receive regular communications from the ICA, and can formally join and participate in branches and committees. These offer me valuable insights into the state of professional practice around the globe, which I use in my own work in lots of ways. As the peak professional body, membership of the ICA is an important signal of professionalism to prospective employers, colleagues and those outside our profession.
What do you like most about being an ICA member? I think probably the connections and friendships that I have made through the ICA have been what I have enjoyed most - from regional events like the PARBICA conference, to annual conferences and the Congress. I love meeting archivists and other recordkeeping professionals from countries I have never visited, learning from others and finding like minded people and friends whenever I attend an ICA event.     

Why would you recommend the ICA to new professionals? In recent years the ICA has made a serious effort to engage with and support new professionals, through initiatives like the New Professionals Program, with its mentoring program and bursaries, and by modernising its communications methods. This is great to see, because our profession is in a critically important transitional phase as we move further into the digital age, and the voices of new professionals - both the young and other recently qualified people  - are essential to the success of this transition.

Anything also you would like to share? Joining professional associations and collaborating with your peers is a winning strategy in any career - in our profession, many of us regard what we do as more of a vocation than just a job. This being the case, we are lucky to have an active, international organisation like the ICA to advance our interests, help with career-long learning and collectively achieve our mission.

SEBASTIAN GURCIULLO, ICA member since 2010
Collection Management Project Officer, Public Record Office Victoria, Australia
Special ICA Committees: Section for Literary and Artistic Archives (SLAA)

Why did you join the ICA? I joined the ICA to learn more about an area of interest, namely literary and artistic archives. Having worked at National Archives of Australia and Public Record Office Victoria for most of my career as an archivist, much of my experience of archives centred on records produced or managed by governments and public servants. Though there are interesting records in both the holdings of the national and state archives in Australia, I have long had an interest in exploring collecting archives like literary and artistic archives, but also others that document particular social movements or communities. When I was given the opportunity to join the Section for Literary and Artistic Archives, and contribute to its steering committee and was appointed as the section’s webmaster, I was able to explore a range of other archival issues and collections than had previously been possible in my paid employment. I’m looking forward to continuing this involvement and contribution in the years ahead as time permits.

How has being an ICA member benefited you? I have met other archivists and professionals interested in literary and artistic archives, and had an opportunity to contribute to the steering committee and work of the section, and through my work as the section’s webmaster (see blog at literaryartisticarchives-ica.org/blog). I’ve had the opportunity to attend ICA conferences in various locations around the world, and have met professionals working in archives, coming from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of interests.

What do you like most about being an ICA member? Some recent highlights include chairing a session on Caribbean literary archives during the ICA conference in Mexico City and writing an article on the topic of born-digital literary and artistic archives for a special upcoming issue of the ICA journal Comma (see website at online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/loi/coma).

Why would you recommend the ICA to new professionals? It’s a good opportunity to expand your horizons, network and range of archival experience, and make a contribution on a trans-national level. Having the opportunity to attend conferences where archivists from around the world gather to discuss the latest developments and issues confronting the profession and being able to talk to like-minded professionals that share your work interests is a wonderful experience and professionally very stimulating.