In Our Own Words

Decolonising Description in the Library and Archival Community

Date: June 14 & 15, 2018

Ryerson Library, Ryerson University

You are invited to this summit and workshop hosted by York University Libraries and Ryerson University Libraries that will bring together community members, scholars, and cultural heritage workers for two days of presentations, discussion, and workshops to commit to active steps toward decolonizing the description of cultural heritage materials.

Systemic issues related to colonization continue to reside in library and archival description. The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, as well as  specific Calls to Action directed at knowledge and heritage institutions released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly outline pathways for addressing the impacts of colonization in and around educational & cultural heritage environments. The emphasis of this event will be on establishing a community of practice in our region that crosses institutional boundaries and that surfaces and centers local and community expertise. Our event will be grounded by Indigenous knowledge principles, with a strong emphasis on reciprocity.

This will be a working summit following a hybrid open conference model with open, participant-led sharing circles as well as keynote talks given by Indigenous researchers, community members, and cultural heritage workers.

We seek to engage in exploring questions such as: How can we link descriptive practices to social justice work and decolonisation? How do we create and maintain a collaborative community of practice? How does structured data such as Linked Open Data create space? How do we engage in community-led description? How do we meet the needs of, and support Indigenous researchers and community members?

Attendees will have opportunities to participate in discussion circles, consider how to integrate Indigenous ways of seeing information into local practice and contribute to a collaboratively developed action plan that will help us move forward. Closer to the Summit there will be an opportunity to submit discussion ideas ahead of time.

Questions and comments should be directed to Stacy Allison-Cassin:

Code of Conduct

Please note this event has a code of conduct.


Registration is now full and we are no longer taking names for the waitlist.


The program can be viewed here.

Accommodation and Local Information

List of local hotels and local transit.

Organizing Team

Trina Grover, Ryerson University Libraries

Anna St. Onge, York University Libraries

Stacy Allison-Cassin, York University Libraries