Definition, Commonalities and Divergences: What are community archives?

Friday, October 21st, 2016
UCLA/UC-Riverside Hosted Community Archives Forum At UCLA
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS), Room 111

This forum will focus on defining community archives, specifically the ways community archives define themselves. Community archives are diverse in several ways, including the ethnic, racial, cultural and gender communities they represent, as well as by size, organizational structure, and/or collaborative efforts. This forum will be an opportunity to introduce the public to the diverse types of community archives that exist in the United States and to learn about their history, work, challenges and possibilities. It will be a vital first step in laying the groundwork for developing effective, collaborative, and sustainable networks that can support their needs and growth. Presenters are managers of community archives, community archives consortia or partnerships, archivists, and scholars whose work focuses primarily on community archives.

Diversifying the Digital Historical Record is a collaborative project, partners of which include the Amistad Research Center, Mukurtu, Shorefront Legacy, South Asian American Digital Project, and the Inland Memories Project of the University of California – Riverside.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The forum will be livestreamed and we will encourage Twitter conversation using the hashtag #DDHR1. The other three forums will use the hashtag #DDHR2, #DDHR3, #DDHR4.

keynote speakers

Jarrett Drake, Princeton University/ A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland

Title: “Liberatory Archives”

Abstract: This talk will assert that liberatory futures are unthinkable without liberatory histories, and that liberatory histories are unthinkable without liberatory archives. If the mainstream practice of archival administration in the United States is one that ultimately replicates and sustains systems of oppression, inequality, and injustice, then how will community-based archives in the U.S. ensure that their trajectory is not aligned with the silence, erasure, and annihilation found in mainstream archival institutions? What principles, practices, and procedures will community-based archives develop and deploy to envisioning Liberatory Archives of the future? This address will be a response to these questions as well as the challenge raised from a talk at Harvard entitled “RadTech Meets RadArch: Towards A New Principle for Archives and Archival Description.”

Bio: Jarrett M. Drake is the Digital Archivist at the Princeton University Archives, where his primary responsibilities include managing the Digital Curation Program, describing archival collections for the Princeton University Archives, and coordinating the Archiving Student Activism at Princeton (ASAP) initiative. He is also one of the organizers and an advisory archivist of A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, an independent community-based archive in Cleveland, Ohio, that collects, preserves, and provide access to the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens. In addition to those responsibilities, Jarrett serves on the advisory boards of Documenting the Now: Supporting Scholarly Use and Preservation of Social Media Content and The Eugenic Rubicon: California’s Sterilization Stories. Jarrett earned a B.A. in history from Yale College and an M.S.I. from the University of Michigan School of Information. His prior work experience includes the University of Michigan Special Collections Library, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Maryland State Archives. Find him on Twitter @jmddrake.

Jen LaBarbera, Lambda Archives, San Diego

Title: “Out of the Box: How Community Archivists Can Engage and Inspire Today’s Activists”

Abstract: As San Diego’s LGBTQ archives, we document the history of our region’s LGBTQ community, but more, we are a foundational structure of our community, the home base of our community, and provide the historic backbone of our community. Often, community archivists see our role as documentarians, recording the history of our community through the acquisitions and accessions of material. Community archives, however, have the potential – and, I will argue, the responsibility – to play an active role as our own communities work for social justice.
How can community archives work directly with social justice leaders, organizers, and activists to offer historical context and inspiration for their activism? What are the ways that we can incorporate theoretical concepts (intersectionality, queer theory, feminist theory, critical race theory) into our practical work to make ourselves more embedded in and engaged with the communities we serve? What does it look like when we move beyond the idea of outreach to our communities and toward engagement and collaboration with our communities?

Bio: Jen LaBarbera is the Head Archivist at Lambda Archives of San Diego, the LGBTQ community archive for San Diego and Northern Baja California. Prior to entering the library/archives field, she spent 6 years working as a political organizer for reproductive justice, and brings that intersectional lens to the work of collecting, preserving, and teaching the LGBTQ history of our region. Her research and professional interests include queer and women’s archives, encouraging meaningful engagement between social justice activists and archives, and the practical application of critical theories in archives. ​​