UPDATE: The dates of this event have changed to May 26-28, 2022 (from February 24-26) for safety considerations due to the community transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The deadline for symposium proposals has been extended until March 15, 2022. Participants can register here or update their registration status using the link in their confirmation email.

After 20 years of supporting global original source research, the CLIR Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources program is coming to a close. To celebrate and reflect on this program, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is holding a capstone symposium and all-class reunion May 26-28, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. Fellows from all cohorts are invited to reflect on their research experiences and consider the future of global archival research. The symposium will be a hybrid conference and community gathering, with opportunities for both remote and in-person participation. The in-person sessions will be held at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, MO, and travel and lodging support is available for all in-person attendees. All current and former CLIR Mellon Dissertation Fellows are eligible to attend and/or present. Fellows can register and submit proposals by filling out this form by March 15, 2022. All papers presented will be considered for inclusion in an edited publication following the symposium.

Call for Proposals

Looking Forward to the Past: A CLIR-Mellon Fellows Reunion Symposium 
St. Louis, Missouri & Online | May 26-28, 2022

The world is a dramatically different place than it was in 2001 when the program was created. CLIR invites alumni of the fellowship program to reflect on how the program shaped their personal and professional experiences. Fellows will discuss the evolution of original-source research over this period and what the future may hold. Discussions from the symposium will inform priorities for CLIR’s future work preserving materials and supporting the scholars who use them.

All fellows and alumni are invited to propose sessions. Prospective speakers may respond to any of the following prompts or propose topics of their own.

  • How did access to original sources change the nature of the questions you wanted to ask and answer? How did it play a role in how you teach and learn and how your career evolved?
  • How has your research process changed over time? Have recent technology advances affected how you do research? What did you learn about research methods during COVID-19? 
  • How have research questions changed over the past 20 years? What new directions do you see emerging in the next 20 years? 
  • What are risk factors facing collections today (e.g. environmental conditions, political risks, insufficient funding, obsolete formats and technology, loss of community, etc.)? What could be done to address these challenges? 
  • How have recent global developments (such as the COVID-19 pandemic, increased attention to racial and social justice, an intensifying climate crisis, etc.) affected archives and original-source research? What role might archives and archival research play in addressing broader social, political and environmental challenges in the future?
  • Propose another topic! 

Applicants should propose presentations in one of the following formats. (Note: CLIR may ask presenters to alter their format due to limited time availability or alignment with other sessions.)

  • In-person paper: Authors will have 10 minutes to present their papers (500-1250 words) at the in-person gathering in St. Louis. Papers will be assigned by the symposium organizers to a relevant panel.
  • Remote paper: Authors will record a 10-minute presentation of their papers (500-1250 words) in advance of the symposium. Recordings will be released prior to the event, as part of the symposium’s YouTube channel and podcast feed.
  • In-person roundtable discussion: Fellows can volunteer to lead roundtable conversations in St. Louis around a topic they propose. A summary of findings from the session may be included in the symposium proceedings.
  • Remote roundtable discussion: Fellows can volunteer to lead roundtable conversations over Zoom around a topic they propose. A summary of findings from the session may be included in the symposium proceedings.

How to apply: 

You can register and propose a session here. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 15, 2022; applicants will be notified by Friday, April 15, 2022. Fellows and alumni attending in person in St. Louis can request travel and lodging support using this form.

To remind alumni of their fellowship experiences, CLIR will attempt to email all fellows copies of the reports they submitted upon the completion of their fellowships, to respond to and reflect upon. Fellows who do not receive their reports by November 1, 2021 should contact mellon@clir.org.

Questions about the symposium can be sent to mellon@clir.org.


What precautions is the symposium taking against COVID-19?

CLIR will monitor and follow current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OCLC’s REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project to assure safety of all participants. These FAQs will be updated as needed.

This symposium is designed as a hybrid event so those at high risk of COVID-19 or who live with vulnerable people have a remote participation option. CLIR pushed back the dates of the conference from February 2022 until late May 2022 in response to the high rate of community transmission of the Omicron variant of the virus, with the hopes that case numbers will stabilize and the weather will be more conducive to outdoor activities if necessary.  

Precautions will be in place for those attending in-person. As of December 2021, CLIR anticipated the following safety measures (see below). These may be tightened or loosened in May 2022, in line with CDC and other relevant guidance from experts

  • Masks will be required in the conference rooms and hallway, and CLIR asks that all attendees wear masks at all times, unless actively eating/drinking at a sufficient distance from other guests. A mask must cover the wearer’s entire mouth and nose. Masks must not be sheer or have holes in them that are visible to the eyes. Hospital masks will be available at the registration desk.
  • Registrants are asked to either self-report as vaccinated OR receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of the event. CLIR is currently investigating the possibility of giving all in-person registrants (vaccinated or not) a rapid COVID antigen test upon arrival.
  • Rapid COVID-antigen tests will be available on site should any attendees develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 during the event (e.g. runny nose), and CLIR will also provide a list of nearby PCR testing sites.
  • Considerations will be made to facilitate taking meals and refreshments in a safe manner and outdoor space will be accessible during breaks.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in the conference area.
  • The conference rooms are large with high ceilings and HVAC units are equipped with Merv 7 and 8 micron rated filters.
  • Hotel employees are required to wear masks while at work and high-touchpoint surfaces are regularly sprayed with Lysol throughout the day.

If you have questions about the symposium’s COVID protocols email mellon@clir.org.

What is the schedule for the event? 

The in-person activities for the event will take place on March 26, 27, and 28, 2022. Details will be made available following the March 15 deadline for submitting proposals. 

Does CLIR cover fellows’ symposium expenses? 

CLIR will cover two nights at the symposium hotel for all participating fellows. We will also reimburse travel costs up to $500 in line with our travel policy. Most meals will be provided onsite as part of the symposium.

If you require more than two nights at the hotel, or anticipate travel expenses over $500, please let us know. A limited amount of additional funding is available to cover additional hotel nights or travel costs exceeding $500. Preference for this additional funding will be given to presenters, but we want to support everyone’s participation to the fullest extent possible.

What happens if more people would like to attend in-person in St. Louis than CLIR’s capacity allows for?

In the event that interest exceeds capacity, preference will be given to individuals whose papers or discussion sessions are selected for the event. After that, available travel funding will be prioritized based on how early participants registered. While space is limited in St. Louis, there is no cap to remote participation. All fellows can attend the remote symposium sessions and they can present if their proposals are approved. Remote presenters, like in-person presenters, will have their papers considered for inclusion in a publication following the symposium.

What is the process for receiving travel and lodging support? 

Participants attending in person should register here then request the travel and lodging support using this form. When booking travel, please consult CLIR’s travel policy for guidance.

Program staff will process receipts submitted through the aforementioned form. You will receive an email from CLIR’s finance office within 7-14 days of completing it with instructions on receiving your reimbursement in a secure fashion. If you would prefer that CLIR book your travel directly, contact mellon@clir.org.

What do you mean by a “hybrid symposium”? 

The reunion symposium will have both an in-person component and an online component. The in-person component will be organized along the lines of a traditional symposium, with sessions and social opportunities held in an onsite venue, in this case the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. In response to COVID-19 and the climate crisis, CLIR is also offering a remote participation option. Remote presenters can pre-record their sessions, which will be available online. Similarly, some of our discussion sessions will be held in person and others will be held online over Zoom, presuming both session types are proposed. Both in-person and remote presenters will be considered for publication in the symposium proceedings.

Can I participate in both the in-person and the remote elements of the symposium? 

Yes! Remote presenters can also attend the in-person event in St. Louis and will be eligible for travel and lodging funding. In-person presenters may opt to also record a version of their presentation for the YouTube and podcast feed. Anyone in the program may attend in person or listen to the prerecorded talks without presenting, although only those attending in person will be eligible for travel funds.

How will proposals be selected?

Proposals will be reviewed by an editorial group of CLIR staff and program partners in late March and early April, to ensure the proposed topics are relevant to the symposium’s themes and are likely to provoke meaningful discussions. CLIR plans to include the perspectives of as many fellows as possible in the program.

If I am presenting a paper, how long should it be?

Fellows presenting papers should plan to write between 500-1250 words (2-5 pages double spaced) and present the paper in a 5-10 minute presentation.

Will there be an opportunity to publish the papers and findings that come out of the symposium?

Following the symposium, CLIR will produce an edited online publication to share the lessons from two decades of research in original sources. The publication will include submitted papers, as well as findings and takeaways from the discussion sessions. (Fellows who do not want their papers included in the proceedings can opt out if desired.) 

What is CLIR doing to improve sustainability and reduce the climate impacts of this event?

This event is designed as a hybrid meeting, with sustainability and COVID safety in mind. By including remote participation options, CLIR hopes to reduce the number of people traveling and the overall carbon emissions caused by the event.

CLIR has recently revised its travel policy to better support more climate-friendly travel approaches. The policy now expressly covers sleeper cars and berths on trains/buses to help make travelers less dependent on airplanes. The policy also covers use of alternative-fuel vehicles, such as electric cars, and supports bicycle rentals. Carbon offsets are an allowable expense for travelers who need to fly. Participants may apply symposium travel funds to these expenses, up to the $500 total limit. 

The St. Louis Union Station hotel has implemented some environmentally conscious efforts including a recycling program for cardboard, batteries, and paper. Rooms come equipped with water-saving showerheads and old lightbulbs are being replaced with efficient LEDs. The hotel and aquarium also have a water reclamation program using rain barrel and run-off capture systems for watering the garden and irrigating the property.

The hotel is located in an old train station and is within walking distance (less than 0.5 miles) from the current Amtrak station, to facilitate travel by train and bus.

Skip to content