Disability and the Archival Profession
Editors: Gracen Brilmyer and Lydia Tang
Expected: Fall 2023
Preserving Disability: Disability and the Archival Profession weaves together first-person narratives and case studies contributed from disabled archivists and disabled archives users, bringing critical perspectives and approaches to the archival profession. Contributed chapters span topics such as accessibility of archives and first-person experiences researching disability collections for disabled archives users; disclosure and accommodations and self-advocacy of disabled archivists; and processing and stewarding disability-related collections. Collectively, these works address the nuances of both disability and archives—critically drawing attention to the histories, present experiences, and future possibilities of the archival profession.
Dr. Gracen Brilmyer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University and the Director of the Disability Archives Lab. Their research lies at the intersection of feminist disability studies, archival studies, and the history of science, where they investigate the erasure of disabled people in archives primarily within the history of natural history museums and colonial histories. This historical-archival research is complemented by empirical research on how living disabled people use and experience archives today. Their work has been featured in publications such as The Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Archival Science, and First Monday. Their research is shaped by their experiences as a white, Disabled, non-binary person. For more: gracenbrilmyer.com
Dr. Lydia Tang is an Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for LYRASIS. Previously, she held archivist positions at Michigan State University, the Library of Congress, and numerous graduate positions at the University of Illinois, where she received her MLIS and Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Passionate about accessibility and disability representation in archives, she served on the Task Force to Revise the Best Practices on Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities and spearheaded founding the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Accessibility & Disability Section (ADS). She is the 2020 recipient of SAA’s Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Awardand was recognized in three SAA Council resolutions as a co-founder of the Archival Workers Emergency Fund, for spearheading the Accessibility & Disability Section’s“Archivists at Home” document, and for the “Guidelines for Accessible Archives for People with Disabilities.” In addition to her professional service with SAA, she has contributed to accessibility initiatives within DLF Digital Accessibility Working Group and the ArchivesSpace open source software and community by leading the Staff Interface Enhancement Working Group, Development Prioritization subteam, founding the Usability subteam, and chairing the Users Advisory Council.