Re-thinking archiving for increased diversity : Insights from a co-design project with museum professionals and refugees

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Re-thinking archiving for increased diversity : Insights from a co-design project with museum professionals and refugees

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Publication Paper in proceeding
Title Re-thinking archiving for increased diversity : Insights from a co-design project with museum professionals and refugees
Author Nilsson, Elisabet M. ; Ottsen Hansen, Sofie Marie
Editor Collina, Luisa ; Brunet, Claire
Date 2018
English abstract
The design research project Co-archiving Refugee Documentation is based on a collaboration with museum professionals and refugees. The overall aim of the project is to explore and develop collaborative (co-)archiving practices involving underrepresented voices in generating materials for the public archives and museum collections. The underlying assumption is that inviting more people to contribute to the public archives would result in a more diverse and representative record of human existence. A co-design process involving museum professionals and refugees resulted in a design concept for increasing the participation in archives referred to as the Co-archiving Toolbox. The toolbox is designed for archivists and museum professionals to use when collecting material in the field. It is meant to be administered by a public institution (a museum or an archive), left in the field for a period of two weeks, and used by the people who are being documented, that is, the ‘subjects’ of the archive. By applying the archiving practices included in the toolbox, they are invited to document their life situations with limited interference from the institution. The focus of this paper is on the outcome of the first field test of the co-archiving toolbox. The insights gained serve as input to the next iteration of the concept. The test was conducted at a leisure centre hosted by a non-governmental organisation that organizes on a voluntary basis activities for unaccompanied refugees under 18 years. Seven teenage boys participated in the field test. It turned out that only a few of them contributed with material to the co-archiving toolbox. According to the museum professional who worked with the toolbox, some of the boys even seemed to avoid the box. Her impression was that the barrier to engage was too high. The boys expressed a sense of dejection and wondered who would be interested in hearing their stories anyway. Some archival material was however generated during field test, mainly written material. Seeing the toolbox in the specific context of the leisure centre brought forward a clearer picture of the use of toolbox as very much a situated practice, where the physical placement and the specifics of the field influence the kind of tools applied and the way they are used. Whatever the boys’ reasons were for not feeling motivated to contribute to the archive, an important lesson to learn is that the toolbox ought to be carefully adopted and adjusted according to the specific context and user group. The final iteration of the Co-archiving Toolbox will be designed as a completely open source co-archiving toolbox, where both the physical box in form of files for replicating the build, all materials and the handbook are made available for download, re-production and replication. The open source kit will be distributed via online maker communities. The results of this research project will thus reach beyond the academic community and be made accessible to professionals who are interested in continuing to innovate and create better conditions for increased participation in and access to our common archives.
Conference
To Get There: Designing Together. Cumulus Paris 2018 (April 11-13, 2018 : Paris, France)
Publisher Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media
Host/Issue Cumulus Conference Proceedings Series;5
ISSN 2490-046X
ISBN 978-2-9565440-0-5
Pages 17
Page 548-561
Language eng (iso)
Subject co-archiving
co-design
refugees
museum professionals
archives
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/27551 Permalink to this page
Link http://www.cumulusparis2018.org/... (external link to related web page)
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