Digital Archives in Communities June 20-21st 2018

Digital Archives in Communities – practice and preservation

20-21 June 2018

Sussex Humanities Lab, the University of Sussex, 2nd Floor, Silverstone Building, Arts Rd, BN1 9RH Falmer, East Sussex – see ‘how to get here‘ for transport links and  a map

Community archives make a unique and crucial contribution to the creation of representative and cohesive narratives of cultural heritage. Such archives represent a concerted effort towards ensuring that histories of the marginalised and under-represented are recorded, captured and made accessible. By engaging with the practical imperatives of archiving, community members are inspired to take ownership of their individual and collective stories and, in doing so, raise the profile of those narratives in contemporary culture and memory. Yet whilst the power of community archives resides in their autonomy, self-governance and independence, it is precisely these characteristics that can contribute to their precarity, due to an inability to sustain the requisite commitment over the long-term. In particular, maintaining digital archives, which contain born digital as well as digitised objects, is a complex undertaking which requires significant resources for an indefinite period. It is for these reasons that in 2017 the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) listed ‘Community Archives and Community Generated Content’ as a critically endangered digital species. The aim of this two-day workshop is, therefore, to confront this challenge directly: to look at the current archival practices of (digital) community archives, and to inspire new ones that are informed by digital preservation practice and methods. The programme of events will include practical session, as well as talks and papers which consider the experience of community archives and the challenges of digital preservation that they face. It will also initiate a conversation with digital art practice, exploring innovative approaches to the presentation of content from community digital archives to better engage new and existing audiences.

Speaker bio’s and abstracts are available here.

Programme of Events

Day 1

Wednesday 20th June

9.30 – 10.00    Coffee and Tea

10.00 – 10.15    Welcome: Introductions – Why are we here?  Dr Sharon Webb

10.15 – 11.45    SessionThe importance of community archives to identity and heritage 

Jan Pimblett, City of London: ‘Working in Partnership. How Formal Institutions Can Support LGBTQ+ Community History’

Lesley Wood, David Sheppeard, Queer in Brighton: ‘Queer in Brighton’  

11.45 – 12.00    Coffee break

12.00 – 13.00   Session: Community Archives as ‘Endangered Digital Species’

Paul Wheatley, Digital Preservation Coalition: Title TBC

Jack Latimer, Creative Director, Community Sites: ‘Community Archive: The ways things go wrong’

13.00 – 14.00    Lunch

14.00 – 15.00    Session: Community Digital Archives: approaches, practice, challenges

Dr D-M Withers, University of Sussex ‘Speculative Pedagogy: Re-imagining the archive as an institutional and social location in digital societies’

Lisa Redlinski, Radical Brighton: ‘Radical Brighton’

15.00 – 15.15   Coffee 

15.15 – 16.15    SessionCommunity Digital Archives: approaches, practice, challenges 

Orla Egan, Cork LGBT Archives:‘Out of the basement: creating the Cork LGBT archive’

Kevin Long, Digital Repository of Ireland: ‘From our side of the table: a digital repository’s experience of working with community archives.’

16.15 – 16.45   Thought experiment: Making the digital physical (Open discussion/Critical Making)

  • What does a digital archive look like?
  • What might a digital object feel like?
  • Can we 3D print digital memories?
  • Can we create tactile experiences for users/readers of digital archives?
  • ‘Can the creation of physical artefacts based on data extracted from complex digital information systems change the way we read, interpret and respond to digital information?’

16.45 – 18.00      Wine reception 

Day 2

Thursday 21st June

09.30 – 10.00     Tea and coffee

10.00 – 11.00      Community Digital Archives: approaches, practice, challenges 

Alison Bancroft, Feminist Archives South: Where archives meet tech: a rhizomatic approach

Kelly Foster, AfroCROWD UK: ‘An Afterlife for Community Archives?: Wikipedia and the Commons’

11.00 – 11.30    Coffee

11.30 – 13.00   Session: Re-imaging the Archives: practice, preservation and building capacity

Dr. Jenna C. Ashton, Digital Women’s Archive North: ‘The Journey of Digital Women’s Archive North: from idea to application’ [Unfortunately Jenna is unable to attend]

Sophie Dixon, Virtual & Mixed Reality Artist, and Abira Hussein, Independent Researcher and Curator: ‘Reinterpreting the archive: Giving presence to the past’

Dr Ben Jackson, University of Sussex, Sussex Humanities Lab: Title TBC

13.00 – 14.00   Lunch

14.00 – 15.00   SessionRe-imaging the Archives: practice and preservation 

Laura Molloy, Oxford Internet Institute“I’ve never thought of that”: Challenges to archive creation in contemporary visual art practice’.

Dr Topher Campbell, rukus! Archive: ‘The rukus! Archive. Love and Lubrication’

15.00 – 16.00   Brainstorm with coffee:

  • Queer in Brighton oral history collection exhibition for Brighton Digital Festival (Laurence Hill, Brighton Digital Festival)
  • Mission statement and next steps (Sharon Webb)

– What do community archives need?
– Discussion and debate about preservation in community archives
– Identify and documenting the challenges of building community (digital) archives