PROTOTYPING CO-ARCHIVING PRACTICES FOR DEMOCRATISING THE ACCESS TO AND PARTICIPATION IN ARCHIVES
As argued by Jaques Derrida (1995*, p. 4): “There is no political power without control of the archive, if not memory. Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation”.
This statement serves as a starting point for a series of research interventions exploring and prototyping co-archiving practices aimed at involving underrepresented voices in contributing to our common archives, and in documenting the story of our times from their point of view. How to give voice to the marginal? How to create conditions for accessing records of human existence beyond traditional methods? How to support co-archivists that strive to seriously engage the subjects (the “archived”) in the shaping of the archives?
The Co-archiving theme has evolved from research activities conducted in the Urban Archiving research theme in Living Archives. Our attention was then directed towards underrepresented, marginalised urban communities and neighbourhoods. The group focused on in the Co-archiving theme is newcomers seeking asylum in Sweden.
Our research approach is design research, which is based in action research and often driven by a critical agenda. Principles and methods from the fields of participatory design (PD) are applied implying that prototyping and design interventions are part of the research process. The direct involvement of the users is one of the central principles of PD. Instead of designing for the users, the designers and/or researchers work with the users in a collaborative (co-) design process of joint decision-making, mutual learning and co-creation.
Collaborators and partners: The Refugee Documentation Project run by The Regional Museum in Kristianstad, Malmö Museums, Kulturen Museum and the Department of Cultural Sciences, Lund University. City of Malmö/Malmö stad, Malmö City Archives, students at Malmö university.
*Derrida, Jacques, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
EVENTS AND INTERVENTIONS
In reverse chronological order:
November–December 2017: The Co-archiving Toolbox tested in the field.
August 29 2017: Raya Dimitrova, Interaction Design Master student at K3/Malmö University, presented her thesis project: Designing a collaborative self-archiving system for vulnerable groups via co-design means.
December 2016 – ongoing: The Co-archiving Refugee Documentation project, read more about the design workshops, and outcome up to now.
June 14 2017: Co-archiving Refugee Documentation Workshop #4.
June 1 2017: The paper “Becoming a co-archivist. ReDoing archival practices for democratising the access to and participation in archives” presented at the Cumulus 2017 Conference in Kolding, Denmark.
April 24 2017: Co-archiving Refugee Documentation Workshop #3.
April 7 2017: Co-archiving Refugee Documentation Workshop #2.
March 21 2017: Ethics seminar “Unheard Voices: Research ethics when collaborating with vulnerable groups”.
March 10 2017: Co-archiving Refugee Documentation Workshop #1.
January-March 2017: Interaction Design Master students at K3/Malmö University developed a collection of co-archiving practices for refugee documentation, read more about the design process and outcome.
November 19 2016: Presentation of the paper “Co-designing newcomers archives: discussing ethical challenges when establishing collaboration with vulnerable user groups” at Cumulus Hong Kong 2016, Hong Kong.
October 20 2016: Presentation of the paper ”Prototyping collaborative (co)-archiving practices – From archival appraisal to co-archival facilitation” at The International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM), Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
January – March 2016: Newcomer archives – Prototyping urban co-archiving practices for capturing and sharing Malmö
In collaboration with Interaction design master students at K3/Malmö University and The Malmö City Archives we explored and prototyped collaborative(co)-archiving practices aimed at involving more people in documenting the of Malmö. Read more.
November 3–4 2015: Memory Gaming at the AHA festival
As part of our participation in the “Re-enactments – Archival Performances” at the AHA Festival the Memory Game was played. At the first gaming session the source was archival traces from the AHA festival 2014 archive. At the second gaming session (18 hours later) the players re-enact and share their memories and experiences from taking part in the archival performance during the last 22 hours. Read more.
October 8–10 2015: The Memory Game travels to Rochester (US)is a card game (a remake of the classical Memory game) and an archiving practice designed to work as a platform for dialogue, and a framework for collecting, storing and sharing memories and cultural heritage. The gameplay is an act of collective storytelling, and an associative play between the players and the memories performed and re-enacted. As part of our collaboration with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) the game is played and exhibited at theMU/RIT Partnership Symposium.
Nilsson, Elisabet M. & Hansen Ottsen, Sofie Marie (forthcoming). Re-thinking archiving for increased diversity – Insights from a co-design project with museum professionals and refugeesConference proceedings Cumulus Paris 2018, Paris, France, April 11–13.
Nilsson, Elisabet M. & Hansen Ottsen, Sofie Marie (2017). Becoming a co-archivist. ReDoing archival practices for democratising the access to and participation in archives. Conference proceedings Cumulus Kolding 2017, Kolding, Denmark, May 30–June 2.
Nilsson, Elisabet M. & Barton, Jody (2016). Co-designing newcomers archives: discussing ethical challenges when establishing collaboration with vulnerable user groups. Conference proceedings Cumulus Hong Kong 2016, Hong Kong, November 21-24.
Nilsson, Elisabet M. (2016). Prototyping collaborative (co)-archiving practices – From archival appraisal to co-archival facilitation. Conference proceedings 22nd International Conference on Virtual Systems & Multimedia, Kuala Lumpur, October 17-21.