The IFLA Indigenous Matters Section, together with the FAIFE and CLM Advisory Committees, seeks abstracts for a hybrid symposium on the following theme:

“Stewarding Indigenous Knowledge through Ethics, Law, and the Archive”

The symposium will take place at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico on Wednesday,  7 August and Thursday, 8 August 2024. There will be additional seminars during the same week and we strongly encourage symposium participants to attend these events as well if possible.

The final paper deadline will be after the symposium (likely in the fall of 2024) to provide authors with the opportunity to include feedback received during the symposium. Paper submissions will undergo double-blind peer review in consideration for publication in the IFLA Journal.


Indigenous knowledges, languages and histories are prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums, but often face issues which stem from colonialism, structural racism or assimilation. Professionals working and researching in these areas must work with Indigenous knowledge experts and systems of memory, to consider legal issues and ethical mandates when acting as custodians of the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples. With the expansion of digital collections and archives, these issues can be highlighted, healed or reinforced in complex ways. In this symposium, participants will share their knowledge and receive considered feedback on topics ranging from:

  • Legal developments affecting Traditional Cultural Expressions
  • Collaborations between Indigenous Peoples and heritage institutions that empower Indigenous knowledges and cultural heritage
  • Fair use versus misappropriation of Indigenous cultural items
  • Ethical priorities for libraries when supporting Indigenous knowledges, languages, and histories

These topics are not meant to be exclusive, but rather to demonstrate some of the potential issues to be explored in the Symposium. We welcome workshops, paper discussions, and other formats of presentations (not just formal presentations). The Symposium is held jointly by the Copyright and Other Legal Matters Advisory Committee, the FAIFE Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Matters Section of IFLA.

The Special Issue reflects IFLA Journal’s tradition for timely discussion and the widest community engagement with emerging trends, cutting-edge best-practice, and innovative research. We invite all interested researchers and practitioners to submit their proposals to the Symposium Issue for constructive feedback. Researchers and practitioners can implement the initial feedback gained during the Symposium before final paper submission. Contributions can relate to any LIS sector. We particularly welcome contributions from Indigenous and First Nation Peoples.

While the symposium is a hybrid event, organizers strongly encourage presenters to attend in person. Please note on your submission whether you plan to attend the event in person in Mexico City during the week of August 5-9.

Kindly submit abstract proposals to Sara Benson at for best consideration by 15 March 2024.

Abstract proposals must include the following:

  • Name, title, employer or affiliated organization, country, and email of speaker(s)
  • Brief biographical statement about each speaker (maximum 100 words) including clear identity information (i.e. Indigenous Nation or community membership, non-Indigenous presenter)
  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Abstract of presentation (maximum of 300 words), including specific mention of Indigenous involvement in the topic of the presentation.
  • Willingness to comply with IFLA’s Authors’ Permission (Papers / Slides will be published in IFLA’s online Repository following the conference)
  • Indication of whether presentation will be in-person or remote
  • For in-person presentations: Confirmation that at least one of the authors can attend the IFLA symposium and present in-person if accepted. (If sponsorship as a Featured Speaker is sought, please indicate).
  • For virtual presentations: Confirmation that a recorded presentation will be made available to the session organizers at least one week before the scheduled session. Confirmation that presenters will be available to participate virtually in the discussion.

Limited sponsorship is available if you wish to attend in person but lack funding to travel. Please note on your proposal if you seek sponsorship as a Featured Speaker.

The symposium will be the basis for a Special Edition of the IFLA Journal. Please plan to submit a full-length article for the IFLA Journal Edition based on your presentation for inclusion in the Journal.  Please note that journal submissions will undergo double-blind peer review.

Partner and Sponsor Opportunities

Is your organization interested in supporting the Indigenous Matters Symposium? Partnerships and sponsorships are available to fund Featured Speakers, student attendance, and more. If you are interested in sponsoring this symposium, please contact Sara Benson at

Guest Editors