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Archival Activism: Community-Centred Approaches to Archives


Thursday, October 22, 2020, 19:00 - 20:30


Free online event


Free online event: booking essential

Join The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and National Archives of Ireland (NAI) for an event exploring the collection and preservation of community-based archival initiatives.

Community-centred archive initiatives can be seen as acts of activism: they address gaps in official traditional archives and some are even formed as direct responses to social movements.

The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States sparked a global conversation about racism and social injustice. In Ireland, it also started a conversation about the experiences of the Black Irish community. These experiences are documented in Black and Irish,a social media community which was founded in June 2020 ‘to build a platform where people could share their experiences of growing up Black in Ireland’ and to grow awareness of ‘not only the struggles, but also the successes of the Black Irish community’.

This collaborative webinar, organised by the Digital Repository of Ireland and National Archives, Ireland, will highlight the memory work of community archivists, like the founders of Black and Irish, who are building freely accessible online collections documenting the stories of their communities and making decisions about how these stories should be collected, organised, and shared. Digital archivist Zakiya Collier will explore the self-curated, collaborative, digital archival practices that have been developed by community archivists and the importance of empowering people to do this work. We hope to open up a conversation about how national memory institutions can offer their digital preservation skills and profession-based knowledge to support community-based archival initiatives and form equitable partnerships to foster more diverse cultural collections. To set the broader context, a critique of community archives and their important role in challenging the idea of what constitutes a traditional archive will be provided by Dr Sharon Webb, a digital humanities professor whose research focuses on community archives and digital preservation.

Speakers include:

  • Boni Odoemene, co-founder of the Black and Irish project
  • Zakiya Collier, digital archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture where she uses web archiving tools to expand the nature of Black archival collections to reflect 21st-century Black life and experiences
  • Dr Sharon Webb, lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex, whose research interests include community archives and digital preservation, with a special interest in LGBTQI+, feminist and BAME archives

Join us on 22 October to participate in the conversation around the ethical collection and preservation of community-based archival initiatives and social media content. Registration is free.

The event will take place on Zoom Webinar but it is not necessary to have a Zoom account to join. The event will be recorded but audience members will not be visible in the recording.

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