Home > Hidden Collections > Events > 2022 Digitizing Hidden Collections Symposium > Keynote
We’re delighted to announce that Dr. Michelle Caswell will keynote the 2022 Digitizing Hidden Collections Symposium on October 12, 2022.
Title: “So that Future Organizers Won’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel”: Activating Digital Archives for Liberatory Uses
Grounded in the emerging field of critical archival studies, this talk will look toward the radical politics of independent, minoritized identity-based community archives to envision new liberatory possibilities for memory work.
Based on participant observation and interviews with users at community archives sites, the talk will explore how communities activate digital collections to build solidarities across and within communities, trouble linear progress narratives, and disrupt cycles of oppression. Caswell will introduce a new concept, corollary records, to describe the activation of archives that document a precedented moment in time, that is a time in which the same or similar oppressions that are currently occurring have also previously occurred.
She will then argue that at their most useful, records can be activated in corollary moments in the present, so that community members can learn activist tactics and strategies and get inspiration to keep going. “We have been here before, we have survived this before, we have resisted before,” corollary records assert, “here’s how.” She will then give concrete examples of archives catalyzing liberatory uses of corollary records through artists and activist residency programs, advocacy efforts, and community-led mutual aid projects. Caswell will explore the temporal, representational, and material aspects of liberatory memory work, ultimately arguing that archival disruptions in time and space should be neither about the past nor the future, but about the liberatory affects and effects of memory work in the present.
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