Summer Immersion Program
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The Summer Immersion Program marks the beginning of the fellowship. Participating fellows must arrive in Chicago, Illinois, prior to the start of the Institute in the beginning of June.
During the 3-month Summer Immersion Program (June – August), fellows receive training in arrangement, description, preservation, reference, and outreach for collections of African American archival materials. Fellows also process collections and create EAD and EAC-CPF finding aids and learn to appropriately utilize Library of Congress Subject Headings to provide access points to African American materials in print, video, and electronic resources. Fellows attend lectures presented by trained archival professionals, African American scholars, and representatives from other African American repositories. Fellows also take field trips to Chicago-area African American collections.
The goal of the Summer Immersion Program is to provide fellows with the skills necessary to succeed in their host repository. This includes training in archival theory, as well as African American history to inform their processing of African American archival collections. Over the course of the summer, fellows communicate with their host repository to develop a residency plan that outlines the work they will complete during the 9-month residency, including specific collections for processing, at least one public program, one community outreach event (lecture, exhibit, etc.), and an implementation plan for social media and/or other online resources culminating in their residency plan.
Field trips to other local archives provide fellows with insight on the different types of archival institutions and processing methods (university, audio and visual collections, state, city), as well as provide fellows with the opportunity to learn from a variety of archival experts/practitioners. Professional development is one of the central goals of the fellowship. At the end of the Summer Immersion Program, fellows attend the Society of American Archivists Conference, where they have an opportunity to network with archivists from around the country and learn about the latest trends in the field.
The last week of the Summer Immersion Program is reserved for fellow presentations of their residency plans and completion of all outstanding work.