When archivists meet…

March 19, 2024 in Featured News, News

Archivists from the Jesuit Conference of Europe met in the General Curia in Rome for four days, 20-23 February, 2024. Damien Burke, Director of Irish Jesuit Archives was at the meeting. He said it was an opportunity for archivists from Jesuit archives in Belgium, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, Spain, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, to meet physically in one place, after five years of online meetings. There were 20 participants in all from 14 JCEP archives. In addition, there were two guests: Irene Petretti, from the historical archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), and Alessandro Corsi, from Boston College (USA).

The main discussion points centred on a reappraisal of guidance on Jesuit archives, the preservation of archival material, digital findings aids, and future collaborations.

One of the projects, that the Irish Jesuit Archives is helping with, is a publication by archives of the Jesuit Conference of Europe, entitled ‘The Second World War through Jesuit Archives: The Case of Europe (1939-1945)’, scheduled for release in late 2024.

Writing about the event, Raúl González Bernardi, SJ, Administrative Director of ARSI (the archives in the Jesuit Curia in Rome) outlined the agenda for the four days which included four working sessions on specific topics.

  • The first working session was dedicated to “The management of the archives”, led by Sergio Palagiano (ARSI archivist).
  • The second session offered an in-depth look at the “Preservation issues in the archives”, led by Mauro Brunello (ARSI archivist).
  • The third session was titled “Digitalization issues and digital archives”, led by Salvatore Vassallo (ARSI archivist).
  • The fourth session focused on a what is called the “book project”. The publication’s title: European Jesuit Archives, 1939-1945. The session was led by Camilla Russell (Publications Editor) by videoconference, with the collaboration ofRebecca Somerset, Damien Burke, Christian Taoutel, and Br. Brent Gordon SJ.

The goal for each topic was the production of documents that could be useful for Jesuit archives around the world. This task is expected to be completed by late Spring.

On the last day participants evaluated the meeting. They arranged to have the next online meeting of the JCEP archivists in May 2024 and to hold another in-person meeting in 2026.