How can archival collections be interpreted in relation to the present? What potential do they hold for shaping the future? The congresses of The Whole Life: An Archive Project explore alternative ways of working with archives on the basis of concrete case studies. In this way, methods and practices are developed that deal less with the safekeeping of holdings and more with their activation. Accordingly, the focus is on methodologies that not only aim at conservation, continuation and self-preservation, but also bring forth something new and make archives visible as a resource for contemporary practices of knowledge production. The congresses bring together artistic, academic and curatorial case studies and augment archival research with anticipatory and speculative approaches.