Speaking at the Archives and Activism Symposium [PDF] in NYC was a great opportunity to be bold and present my ten cents on where I think the archival community can contribute to activist efforts.
Sharing a presentation slot with Jefferson Bailey was an honor in of itself. I can deliver all of the usual platitudes about what it meant to me to participate and they would all ring true. Id be hard pressed to think of another venue where a balance of theory and praxis was in such obvious abundance. Im told the event was recorded, so when that goes up Ill be posting a link for all to hear, though I suspect that Ill be less excited about my talk at the event than just about even my most acerbic critic.
In lieu of the time to write something comprehensive I would like to mention just a couple of people who spoke that really inspired me.
Grace Lile & Yvonne Ng. Pretty much heroes in my book. Id heard of WITNESS before but this was my first relatively in depth introduction. They train people throughout the world not only how to document human rights abuses on video, but increasingly on how to document them with an eye toward digital preservation.
WITNESS has partnered with more than 300 human rights groups in over 80 countries, trained over 3,000 human rights defenders, developed widely-used training materials and tools, created the first dedicated online platform for human rights media (the HUB), and supported the inclusion of video in over 100 campaigns…
AIDS Memorial Quilt Digital Experience Project
Anne Balsamo. Another person doing inspiring work. For those of you who have been living under a rock, please do read more about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Anne talked about the experience of trying to design a digital interactive media experience that could approximate and even supplement the physical experience of encountering the 1,300,000+ square feet of remembrance that is the AIDS Memorial Quilt. For the record that 1,300,000+ square feet commemorates more than 91,000 people who have lost their lives to AIDS. Anne is currently working on trying to bring a new version of this experience to the iPad. Until then take a look at this.
Dan Erdman and Marie Lascu presented on behalf of the Activist Archivists. They have created a wealth of practical resources for activists to ensure that the record of their struggle has a better chance of surviving into the future. With efforts like these, the chances grow smaller and smaller, of any person trying to discount activist efforts as ephemeral. The body of evidence will simply be too large. Read more about them here.