EAC Mid-Year Review 2021

Letter from the Director

As we are getting closer to our summer vacation period, this is a good moment to reflect on the hard work that has been done in the past six months. Working from home has become the norm for many. The EAC staff and volunteers have found their rhythm and continued working on multiple new and existing projects.

The EAC received 11 applications for the 2021 Thesis Award from universities around the world. We are excited to see such an interest in our initiative. A big thank you also goes to our partner organisations for helping us to promote this initiative.

We also used this unusual time to initiate the EAC IT systems review with the help of a consultant.

The past few weeks also brought some changes among the EAC staff. Eva Barbisch, EAC Archivist, resigned and will leave the EAC by the middle of July. She has been with the EAC for seven years and been instrumental in the EAC’s drive to become a more professional institution by creating many archival standards, frameworks and policies. Eva started at the EAC as a volunteer. To say that Eva will be missed at the EAC seems like such an understatement. We always appreciated her thoughtful, steady approach to solving any problem large or small. We are grateful for all the support and goodwill Eva has shown over the years. We wish Eva all the very best on her next adventure!

Photos by Carmen Morlon
The past months have been challenging in many different ways for all of us. Before continuing our activities, we all need to take a well-deserved break to recharge. On behalf of everyone at the EAC, I wish you a safe and happy summer!

COVID-19 impact on the EAC operations

We are happy to announce that researchers are allowed to visit the EAC – by appointment only – as of 28 June 2021. Please make sure that you submit the Research Request Form on our website’s Research page so we can assist you in the best way possible.

A limited number of volunteers will be allowed on the EAC premises as of September 2021. The EAC staff is currently evaluating which archival projects to restart and whether there is a need for new volunteers. We will also review our office COVID-19 guidelines accordingly.

These new rules are subject to change depending on any new measures introduced by the Dutch government. We encourage interested people to follow our social media and our website’s News page to stay up to date on this matter.

2021 EAC Master’s Thesis Award

The deadline for this year’s EAC Thesis Award was 31 March. Rather than choosing a theme for submissions, we only require they engage with the archive’s mission and objectives. We are proud that the EAC received submissions from master’s students from universities around the world: New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, France, and, of course, the Netherlands.

After careful consideration, the five jurors decided that the winner is Aaisha Zafar Islam with her MA Research Project and Paper “The Lost Generation of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC): Stories of Loss, Longing, and Belonging”. They all agreed that this thesis captures the spirit of the EAC mission the best.

As Aaisha Zafar Islam describes, her MA project is inspired by her lived experiences, and the life stories of her generational cohort, the ‘Lost Generation’ of GCC, or ‘Generation 1.5.’ These are people with multi-hyphenated identities whose sense of collective identity as a ‘GCC kid’ has no tangible connection with the land their first identities are formed in. Read more about her thesis here.

The other two applications that make the top 3 are:

Thank you to all applicants for your interest in our initiative and for submitting your papers!

The EAC Thesis Award will return in 2022. The submissions again will have to engage with the EAC’s mission and objectives. Please follow our social media and check the EAC Thesis Award page for the latest announcements.

Online events

By now, most events the EAC attends have moved online in various formats. These conferences, webinars and workshops allow us to learn about the latest trends and developments in fields relevant to our work, network with other archives and expat-focussed organisations, meet prospective volunteers, and get in touch with researchers, academics, and potential donors of material.

The EAC’s second Virtual Information Morning was held on 23 March. This event has been a successful substitute to the Information Morning we host in our office twice a year. We do our best to reach as many people as possible with this event by changing time zones. In the future, we are planning to keep organising these virtual events in combination with physical Information Mornings when possible.

The next Virtual Information Morning will take place on 20 October. This time we would like to reach out specifically to people in North and South American time zones. It will take place at 16:00 CEST.

If you are interested in joining the upcoming Information Morning, please send an email to welcome@xpatarchive.com.


Since the office has been closed to most visitors, the articles published on the EAC website during the past six months look inward. During the month of April, we reflected on the 13 years the EAC has spent as a non-profit organisation collecting and preserving life stories of expatriates worldwide. We recognised people who played important roles in making the EAC what it is today. Staff members each engaged with an interesting questionnaire, and reflections were submitted by EAC volunteers, a researcher, and a donor. You can read the highlights of those here:

Additionally, one of our volunteers, Flavia Giuffra, submitted an article about the EAC and its activities to @rhivi magazine, which is published by ICARUS Croatia. The article was translated into Croatian by the magazine team. @rhivi is a popular publication in the region that promotes archives and historical sources, as well as sharing information about projects, initiatives, strategies, and practical experiences in digitisation and cooperation of institutions. We are delighted to be featured in such a publication. Congratulations, Flavia!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via social media or email us at welcome@xpatarchive.com.

Copyright (C) 2021 Expatriate Archive Centre. All rights reserved.