This workshop aims to address a central issue in the archival community, and one which many AERI participants confront regularly: the question of how to prepare future archivists to enter the field. While discussions of what the balance between theory and hands-on practice should be in an introductory course, how to craft critical and inclusive syllabi, and how to include the multiplicity of key archival ideas remain central in the mind of archival instructors, teaching in 2020 and 2021 has brought additional challenges: changing modes of instruction and/or assignments to incorporate an online-only environment, how to best support students during a pandemic and a sustained period of police brutality and unrest, and how to empower them to enter the profession equipped to confront the current challenges facing the field. Pandemic pedagogy itself offers a challenge for instructors, requiring critical thinking through how to introduce a new cohort of archivists to the world they operate in. This workshop will consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected introductory archival pedagogy, what’s changed and what may be worth holding on to as the crisis moves into its next phases.
Workshop speakers will introduce the major challenges of teaching introductory courses and discuss their experiences, followed by breakout room discussions and exercises designed to identify priorities in teaching introductory courses. Outcomes of the workshop include establishing an AERI syllabus repository and producing working documents such as crowdsourcing suggested modules, readings, and assignments for introduction to archives courses. The organizers of this workshop envision that this session could establish a regular, ongoing conversation at AERI around introductory archival courses.