Collecting Resistance: Archivists in/of Movements
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Summary: How to Collect Radical Political Material in the 21st Century, a Project in the City of Malmö, Sweden
This paper will discuss the challenges encountered in our work within
this new expanded context. Specifically, I will address the following
questions. How should one build an archive to deal with political
material genuinely interesting and relevant to the 21st century? How
does one get organizations that have never delivered or properly saved
any of their material to co-operate with an archive which traditionally
has focused more on the traditional reformist movements? How does one
establish contact with movements without the normal hierarchic structure
and without traditions of saving their material (like the Occupy
Movement, to name an example). In a two year project we have worked to
collect this kind of material in a way that no Swedish archive has done
before. Although we already have plenty of results, the project needs to
go on for several more years to fully place the feminist and more
autonomous political movements in their true context.
Ethics and Challenges of Documenting History in Real Time
Sharon Farb and Ali Jamshidi
At UCLA we have been collecting both digital and physical materials from
war ravaged areas of the world. We’ve partnered with political
activists to develop a unique assemblage of ephemera collected by
political activists on the front lines of these social media
revolutions. The presentation will cover how we organized and collected
this disaggregated content and record of history and the legal,
political, and ethical challenges posed. One set of critical questions
revolves around how to best protect personal safety of those most at
risk in capturing and documenting history while is it occurring. Hear
from the activist himself on how he came to be part of a global
political movement and why he sees value in the role research libraries
and archives play in capturing and preserving the historical and
cultural record that were not available before. By working directly with
activists and technologists in the Green Movement we have developed a
significant collection of software packages, logs, and applications that
effectively document the social, political and technological history of
Iran's Green Movement. Along with the technology a substantial
collection of videos, photographs, and posters have also been gathered.
The collection consists of thousands of videos gathered during the
protests. These videos and images were downloaded more than 3 million
times from in-country. This content and collection combined with the
images, web logs etc., are historically significant as they are part of
the first ever "digital revolution" which preceded the Arab Spring. The
discussion will cover critical legal, policy and ethical questions
raised by collaborative international grass roots approach developed
from field recordings and why we believe that insider descriptions
captured at the time are most relevant authentic record of history.
Collecting Cultures of Resistance: The Joseph A. Labadie Collection
This presentation discusses the history of the oldest public archive of
social protest in the world, founded in 1911 at the University of
Michigan. The presenter, Julie Herrada, is the third curator in its
entire history. She will tell the unique stories of the people who
created and curated it, and describe how it not only has survived but
thrived into the 21st century.
The Occupy Wall Street Archives
I will be presenting a paper based on my experiences with initiating the
Occupy Wall Street Archives working group and organizing the physical
collection of the archive. The paper will focus on the challenges of
archiving an ongoing grassroots movement without institutional support
and the need for educating other participants. I will discuss how
archives can be a tool for activists seeking to frame their own
historical narrative by sharing my observations from archiving the
movement as a participant. As a participant, I was able to gain unique
insights about the context in which many materials in the physical
collection were created. Activists who are archivists have to make use
of the limited resources they have to keep the collections accessible to
the user community. Archivists need to educate other participants about
why archives are important and about archival principles and standards.
The challenges of archiving Occupy Wall Street can provide lessons and
alternative models for activists and archivists seeking to archive
social movements outside traditional institutional structures.
A Practical & Ethical Guide to Building Post-Custodial Archival Partnerships
While the postcustodial archival model has remained a part of archival
discourse since the 1980s, the debate over the model’s usefulness and
applicability has waned over the past decade. I speculate that part of
this decline can be attributed to the literature’s tendency to focus on
the theory of the model and rarely draw upon actual use cases of it.
This presentation will draw upon the work of the University of Texas
Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative to provide contemporary
concrete examples of the postcustodial model in action as well as
practical and ethical considerations for the model’s implementation in
diverse human rights contexts. This presentation aims to reach out to
archivists who are interested in implementing the postcustodial
archival model as well as community organizations and individuals who
seek an alternative framework in which to collaborate with formal
T-Kay Sangwand is the Human Rights Archivist for the University of Texas Libraries’ Human Rights Documentation Initiative and the Librarian for Brazilian Studies for the Benson Latin American Collection. Since 2009, she has worked with nongovernmental organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S. to preserve their human rights documentation. Prior to UT, Sangwand completed the MLIS and Latin American Studies MA dual degree program at UCLA with specializations in Archives, Spanish, and Portuguese and in 2013 she participated in the Archives Leadership Institute. Sangwand cofounded the Society of American Archivists Human Rights Archives Roundtable and is currently a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists.
Sharon Farb and Ali Jamshidi
Sharon E. Farb is an Associate University Librarian for Collections and Scholarly Communications at the UCLA Library.
Ali Jamshidi is a UCLA Digital Collections Specialist, curator of the Green Movement collection, founder and leader of the most important social media platform for distribution of information about the Green Movement and post-election protests, and founder of Tahavole Sabz, a prominent Iranian journalistic outlet.
Amy Roberts started the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group in October 2011. She is interested in how activists can use archives to document their own history. She coauthored the chapter "Why Archive? And Other Important Questions by Occupiers" in the book Informed Agitation published by Litwin Books in 2014. She is currently completing her Masters of Library and Information Studies at Queens College.
Fredrik Egefur is a doctoral candidate at Lund University and director of the Labour Movement Archives of Skåne in the south of Sweden. The Labour Movement Archives, founded in 1941, is an independent foundation with a mission to preserve and provide sources of information on the labour movement and labour history in the city of Malmö and the country of Sweden. Historically, the archive collected mainly material from the social-democratic labour party and trade unions. Recently it has expanded its mission to documenting the history of all movements connected to the Swedish political left, such as the feminist, peace, and solidarity movements, and political organizations working outside of the conventional parliamentarian paradigm.
Zachary Loeb is an activist, writer, and library professional; though he trained as an archivist he currently works as a reference librarian at an academic library. As an active member of the People’s Library working group during Occupy Wall Street and an affiliate member of the Archives working group, he experienced firsthand the challenges of bringing together the library/archive and the activist ethos. Loeb earned his MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently working towards an MA in the Media, Culture, and Communications department at NYU. With Jaime Taylor he co-founded the library/archive activist blog Librarian Shipwreck.
Julie Herrada is the Curator of the Joseph A. Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan Library, where she collects and manages holdings related to international social protest movements. She also curates exhibits, assists students and researchers from all over the world, and is constantly collaborating and thinking of ways to preserve and provide universal access to hidden histories. She has been in her position since 2000. From 1994-2000 she served as the Labadie Collection’s Assistant Curator. She holds an MLS with a Certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State University (1990). She received her B.A. from WSU in 1984.