This year's Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) Annual Symposium will take the form of a series of 4 virtual symposia and seminars between July and October. Run in partnership between the SAHGB, Architectural Association (AA) Archives and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Collections, we will explore the connections between architecture and archives. The relationship between the two provides a primary interface between architectural history and practice, but has been little explored by either discipline. In four sessions we will ask who is represented (and who is not) in architectural archives, what the role of these repositories is for practice and pedagogy, who they serve, and what their future looks like in the age of BIM and Post-Occupancy Evaluation.
In the third of these themed sessions we will draw on the expertise of those in architectural practice, curating, archiving and academia to explore the relevance of archives to users beyond the traditional figure of the researcher. We will consider how approaches to acquisitions, cataloguing, access and interpretation can help or hinder archives’ ability to serve these audiences’ needs. Acknowledging the financial pressures many architectural archives face, we will interrogate the ways in which institutions and agents endeavour to balance long-term economic sustainability with their responsibilities to existing audiences.
Finally, we will cast our sights to the future to consider what role innovation can play in a sector concerned – in part – with preserving the past.