Call for Proposals: Memory Lives On: Documenting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic


AIDS activist Bobbi Campbell making a peace sign, wearing University of California San Francisco School of Nursing t-shirt.

Memory Lives On: Documenting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic is an interdisciplinary symposium exploring and reflecting on topics related to archives and the practice of documenting the stories of HIV/AIDS. 


The task of documenting the history of HIV/AIDS and thinking about the present and future of the epidemic is daunting. The enormity and complexity of the stories and perspectives on the disease, which has affected so many millions of patients and families around the world, present significant challenges that demand continual reexamination. Questions of “what do we collect and from where” and “whose stories do we know best.”  The ways in which we handle documentary evidence and produce knowledge from that evidence has profound effects on a huge range of social, economic and health outcomes. In examining and reflecting on our knowledge of the history of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and its future, we hope to improve our understanding of the true effects of the disease, and what it can teach us about future epidemics.

The program committee invites submissions for presentations addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the wide-ranging perspectives of historians, archivists and librarians, artists, journalists, activists and community groups, scientific researchers, health care providers, and people living with HIV. We invite proposals from individuals with diverse experience and expertise on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in scholarship, research and advocacy. Proposals will be considered in a variety of forms including paper presentations, panel discussions and posters.

The Symposium will take place in Byers Auditorium in Genentech Hall at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus in San Francisco, October 4th and 5th 2019.  The program will be an afternoon session and evening reception the first day, followed by a full day of presentations the second.

The Program Committee has identified the following themes to consider when developing your proposal, though we encourage creativity and experimentation in exploring themes, partnerships, and narrative ideas. 

  • Documenting the epidemic: Gaps, silences and unheard voices
  • Creating an interdisciplinary narrative of an epidemic
  • Silent no more: Community, caretaker and patient stories 
  • The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic 
  • Biomedical story: From mystery disease to cure 
  • From local to global: Learning from AIDS to address future epidemics

The Program Committee welcomes proposals for individual papers, panel discussion and posters. Individual papers with a similar focus will be assembled into a single session by the program committee. Usually 3-4 papers are included in a session.
To allow adequate time for questions and discussion,  panels should be limited to four participants in addition to a chair/facilitator.
Please include the following in your complete proposal

  • Session title if submitting a full panel proposal (of no more than 20 words)
  • Session abstract if submitting a full panel proposal (up to 500 words)
  • Short session abstract for the program if submitting a full panel proposal (up to 50 words)
  • Paper or poster or presentation titles (if any), and names of corresponding presenters
  •  Biographical paragraph for each presenter
  •  E-mail address for each participant
  •  Affiliation, city, state, and country for each participant
  •  Social media handles or web addresses for each participant (optional)
  •  Audiovisual needs
  • Special accommodation needs

The deadline for submissions is June 3. We will notify presenters if their proposal has been accepted by July 22. 


Memory Lives On Program Committee

Victoria Harden, Ph.D., Director (retired) of the Office of NIH History


Monica Green, Ph.D.,  Professor of History, Arizona State University

Richard  McKay, DPhil,  Director of Studies for HPS at Magdalene College

Barbara A. Koenig, Professor of Medical Anthropology & Bioethics in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Health & Aging and Head of UCSF Bioethics Program

Jay Levy, MD, Professor UCSF School of Medicine

Eric Jost, Digital Marketing Manager, SF AIDS Foundation

Jon Cohen, Staff writer for Science Magazine

Mark Harrington, Executive Director, Treatment Action Group

William Schupbach, Wellcome Library 

Jason Baumann, Susan and Douglas Dillon Assistant Director for Collection Development and Coordinator of Humanities and LGBT Collections

Polina Ilieva, Head of Archives & Special Collections, UCSF Library


Submit a proposal: http://tiny.ucsf.edu/A2nohy

For any inquiries contact David Krah david.krah@ucsf.edu 

More information about the UCSF AIDS History Project: https://www.library.ucsf.edu/archives/aids/

Announcing the Longenecker Photograph Collection at ZSFG

We are excited to announce a new collection from the ZSFG Archives.  The Longenecker Photograph Collection, consisting of twelve boxes of prints, negatives, and glass plate negatives, is now available for research.

Don S Longenecker was the official photographer for San Francisco General Hospital from the 1950s to the 1980s.  During that time, he took photos of the interiors and exteriors of the hospital campus, staff, events, and patients, including portraits of staff members and medical photos of patients for use in publications.

ZSFG interns and residents, June 1959

Of particular note are the images that document the many changes to the hospital campus during the 30+ years of Longenecker’s career.  For example, the collection features images of the addition of fire escapes to the Nightingale wards of Buildings 10, 20, 30, and 40, the demolition of the old administration building that originally stood at the front gate entrance to the hospital, and the dedication of the new pathology building in 1967, along with other photos of both interior and exterior remodeling and construction.  The collection also includes detailed images of the brickwork and architecture of the historic buildings that date back to 1915.

Adding fire escapes to Buildings 30 and 40, circa 1950s.
During demolition of the administration building, circa 1960s.

Other highlights of the collection include photos of the surgical amphitheater, Mission Emergency, the dedication of the Trauma Center, staff labor strikes, hospital equipment, and many photos of staff events and celebrations.

Surgical theater

The finding aid for this collection is available on OAC.

New to the Archive: The William R. Alschuler collection

We are excited to announce the addition of a newly acquired collection to the archive. This collection includes materials assembled and organized by William R. Alschuler, California Institute of the Arts science faculty, for a class on the AIDS epidemic he was teaching in 1993-1996 entitled, “AIDS as exhibit.” It contains flyers, handouts, newsletters, and other publications from numerous public health departments and community based organizations in California and around the country with information about AIDS transmission and prevention, treatment, testing protocols, nutrition, service organizations, legal rights and educational resources as well as newspaper and journal clippings and course syllabi about the history of the AIDS epidemic. The final project of this class included exhibits curated by students that were displayed in hallways at California Institute of the Arts.