Conference PHCP| 2018 Moving forward Winnipeg, Canada

The success of the previous Preserving Historical Collections of Parapsychology (PHCP) will now be followed by a  2nd PHCP in 2018. From Friday, May 11th to Sunday 13th May, 2018, the PHCP|2018 conference will be held in Winnipeg, Canada. The purpose of this conference will be: ‘Moving forward in Preserving the Historical Collections of Parapsychology’. Simply preserving the historical collections of Parapsychology is namely not enough. Nowadays we face the question of what to collect, how do we reach a broader audience and how to digitalize and raise money. This conference will try answer a broader question: How will a historical collection of Parapsychology move forward in the future?  See more information below.

Moving Forward:  Preserving the Historical Collections of Parapsychology (PHCP | 2018)

Host:  University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Purpose of Meeting:  Those of us working to preserve the historical collections of parapsychology, including original research archives, published library materials, rare artifacts, and large sets of scientific data, need new ways of thinking about and promoting ourselves and our collections and new means of service delivery, to be able to move forward in a more deliberate and consistent manner than is currently possible.

In 2014, a highly successful first “Preserving the Historical Collections of Parapsychology” conference (PHCP | 2014) was hosted by the Het Johan Borgman Fonds in Utrecht, Holland.  It was attended largely by archivists, librarians and historians living in Europe and Britain, as well as a handful from Canada and the United States.  Our discussions demonstrated the passion, commitment and knowledge of the group assembled in Utrecht.

This second gathering (PHCP | 2018) is intended as a meeting rather than a conference.  We are proposing a limited number of short presentations to help focus discussion around these topics intended to elicit new insights and perspectives:

  • Archives – do we need a Paranormal Archives Portal to collect and  disseminate high-level descriptive information about known collections, whether in an archival repository or not?
  • Archives – what new methods can we use to promote our collections to a broader public?
  • Library – monographs – with limited library acquisition budgets, how do we ensure that one of the known parapsychology libraries procures and maintains a reference copy?
  • Library – journals – continued discussion of coordination of digitization efforts
  • Artifacts – 3D artifacts are not typically collected by either Archives or Libraries – how do we ensure the preservation of obscure equipment and devices that are essential to understanding attempts to interact with psychic phenomena?
  • Data – issues specific to the archiving and preservation of large data sets, for instance, the data collected by the Global Consciousness Project
  • Fundraising – new financial & institutional support.  How do we heighten awareness of the importance of psychical research to understanding of human nature?  Do we need a collective mission or vision statement that might attract the funding we need to move forward in a more significant way?

Please let us know as soon as possible:

1)    Are you likely to attend this meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from 11 to 13 May 2018? 

2)    Are there other pressing topics that should be discussed during the meeting?

3)    Is there some innovative aspect of your work that you would like to share – either as a short presentation or paper submission (1,000 word maximum)?

4)    If you are coming, would you like to stay in on-campus accommodation ($85 CDN for single bed with private shower/WC in a modern, well-maintained student residence – see links below)?  Please indicate whether anyone will accompany you so that we can reserve a block of rooms for our meeting.  Do you prefer single rooms or a double

Meeting Duration:  Two and a half days of short presentations that lead us to moderated group discussion and innovative solutions.  We are looking for new insights and perspectives.

Dates:   Friday to Sunday, 11 to 13 May 2018.   We are proposing a weekend meeting to enable more participants to attend.  Participants travelling within North America will be able to benefit from less expensive mid-week travel dates.

Audience:  Professional archivists, librarians and interested others who have sufficient experience of managing paranormal archives and library collections to contribute to discussion about how we move forward.  The meeting may also be of interest to amateur historians and archivists who are responsible for private collections and/or archives at smaller psychical research, Spiritualist or related societies.

Target Attendees:  15 to 30

Registration:  Though there will NOT be a fee to participate in the meeting, we require advance registration to be able to organize appropriate seating for the meeting and to propose group activities.  Once we have an estimate of the number attending, we may propose a basic cost to cover lunches provided during the meeting.

On-Campus Accommodation:  About $85 CDN for a single bed with private bathroom (Pembina Hall); $170 CDN for a double room (Arthur Mauro).  During the summer, the University of Manitoba Student Residences are open to guests visiting from all over the world – subject to availability, you are welcome to book for as long as you like, to be able to take in more of what Winnipeg has to offer. Inexpensive on-campus meals will also be available.

Archives of Parapsychology Exhibit:  An exhibit showcasing records from the T.G. Hamilton collection and other parapsychological materials will be on display in the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections reading room during the meeting.

Other Activities:  Evening meals will be organized at delicious eateries in downtown Winnipeg that will allow participants to see a bit of Winnipeg.

Participants are encouraged to take advantage of travelling to Winnipeg to take in local sites, such as the Hermetic Code tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building (Frank Albo reveals hermetic and occult influences on the construction of the building every Wednesday evening) and the Canadian Museum for Human RightsOpened in 2014 – the museum is a must-see – it boasts over 100 hours of content, much of it interactive.  Other local sites include the polar bear conservation effort “Journey to Churchill, an international-calibre collection of Indigenous artefacts from the Hudson’s Bay Company at the Manitoba Museum and the Inuit and local art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, among others.

Some of you may also wish to plan a side trip to visit the stunning turquoise lakes and towering mountains of Banff National Park in Alberta or witness the powerful majesty of Niagara Falls. The bustling urban centres of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are easily reached from Winnipeg by plane. Slower train travel is also available.


 We look forward to welcoming you in Winnipeg!


Walter Meyer zu Erpen, MAS
Volunteer Archives and Records Consultant
Phone:  1-250-885-9258


Shelley Sweeney, PhD, Director
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Phone:  1-204-474-6350