On ‘Holding the Process’: Paying Attention to the Relations Side of Donor Relations
This article reports on a series of interviews with archivists and recordkeepers conducted as part of a larger project exploring relationships between grief and recordkeeping. Though the interviews were not explicitly focused on donor relations, it emerged that the relationship between archivists and donors was a particularly emotionally charged one: interview participants described deep and complex relationships with donors, whom they often knew over a long period and through difficult or complicated times. Interview participants also reported feeling unprepared for this emotional work. This article responds to a perceived lack of attention paid to donor relations in archival theory and education by acknowledging the significance of donor stories, feelings and relationships. Aligned with the ever-growing emphasis in archival theory and praxis on person-centered approaches, the article suggests where such approaches are needed in relation to archival education and training, the collection and preservation of donor stories, relationship-building, and recognition of different kinds of archival labor.
Copyright (c) 2023 Jennifer Douglas
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