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/

New Archives Intern: Harold Hardin

Harold Hardin is joining us in Archives & Special Collections this spring to work on finishing the NEH grant-funded project The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic. Harold will be helping QA digital objects among other tasks related to the digitization workflow.

Harold Hardin is a current student in Cuesta Colleges’ Library/Information Technology program and San Francisco City College’s Paralegal Studies program. While pursuing a double major in Sociology/Critical Race Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz Harold developed an academic interest in the often hidden and occluded histories of marginalized communities, particularly histories of oppression and resistance. Through their own experiences of political activism at UC Santa Cruz and beyond (#Blacklivesmatter Oakland/ Stockton, GaySHAME SF) Harold has insisted on moving iteratively between theory and praxis: centering an intersectional feminist analysis of power. 

These analytical lenses and political participation increased Harold’s consciousness regarding the fundamental ways in which access to information (particularly personal/community histories) profoundly shapes participation in our democracy (or lack thereof). Harold is interested in the nuances of political participation and uncovering the innumerable sites of quotidian resistance! Therefore, Harold sees their internship within UCSF’s AIDS History Project as not only a unique privilege to work toward increasing community access to Queer history, but also, and importantly,  an extension of the deeply personal (political) work of (re)understanding their multiple positions within (and outside) of the Archives.

UCSF Archives & Special Collections awarded grant to digitize historical California public health materials

UCSF Archives has been awarded a California Revealed grant to digitize historical reports, newspapers, yearbooks, and other publications that document the development of medicine and public health in California and the Bay Area and various activist and community roles in that history. The publications to be digitized include The Cap & Seal yearbook of the San Francisco General Hospital Nursing School, the Annual Reports of the San Francisco Nursery for Homeless Children, the Annual Reports of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Bay Area Health Liberation News Newspaper, the Annual Reports of the California Women’s Hospital, the Clarion journal of the SF Department of Public Health Tuberculosis division, and the Annual Reports of St. Luke’s Hospital.

These materials contain fascinating and valuable primary source documentation of the development of medicine and public health in California. Included are countless historical images of hospital spaces, technologies, and equipment; historical data on hospital patients, surgeries, and finances; historical patient voices through writings and illustrations; and evidence of the broad and diverse movement building which was a part of progressive public health development in the civil rights era.

The project will include 80 total volumes of the items outlined above. Having the digitization provided for free by California Revealed is equivalent to an estimated $5500 of actual digitization costs. The digitized materials will be published to Calisphere for public access and download.

The front page of the Bay Area Health Liberation News newspaper with an article about medical repression in prisons.

About California Revealed:
California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public libraries, in partnership with other local heritage groups, digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials – books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more – that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State.