Participatory Archiving Director’s Brief

Participatory Director’s Brief Link

This project really was transformative for me.  The subject felt powerful but also incredibly sad.  I think like many, I’m feeling incredibly vulnerable and unsettled these days, but reading these stories and seeing how marginalized societies and traumatized countries are working to find empowerment through their sorrows really expanded my perspective.

So often in my public library setting my perspective can be so micro-focused.  I happen to work in a very different library compared to the rest of the district and the rest of Denver.  My library caters to a niche population of Russian-Americans and new immigrants.  A lot of my work focuses specifically on serving the needs of such a specific community.  I tend to filter everything I learn, both in school and work, through the lens of “will that apply to the needs of my community?”.  This project allowed me to think more globally, recognizing that while a lot of the trendy local ideas don’t always make sense for the needs of my community, it’s worthwhile to look further and see what’s on the horizon internationally.

Specifically, participatory archiving feels like a new wave we should all be considering.  So much of 2020 has been focused on systems that do not work for everyone and that are fundamentally flawed.  It was really powerful to think through a complete realignment of a system and how it could lead to not only a better outcome but have tangible effects on the community in the process.


One thought on “Participatory Archiving Director’s Brief

  1. @amberbales

    This is such a nicely designed and thoroughly informative, fascinating brief! The idea of healing trauma through participatory archival practices is definitely an idea that needs to be put into play in more archival spaces.

    When I read the section about “speaking back” to contextualize the lives of the MMIW included in records, I couldn’t help but think about how valuable this practice could be in multiple contexts concerning victims of violence and larger societal misogyny. It reminded me of the protest movement, largely led by victims families and becoming more intense in recent months, against femicide in Mexico. It will be interesting to see if the eventual archival record of the movement incorporates the type of participatory archival practices so clearly defined in your brief.

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