I’m excited to announce that starting today (May 16) through May 22 my fellow
archivist Yvonne Ng and I will be co-hosting an online dialogue hosted by New Tactics in Human Rights titled Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice and Memory.
At WITNESS we’ve long incorporated archiving as an important component of our work, but generally speaking archives and preservation have taken a backseat to more urgent aspects of human rights advocacy. That is beginning to change; human rights archives are increasingly playing a pivotal role in advocacy, restorative justice, historical memory, and struggles against impunity.
At the same time, however, archivists and activists alike are grappling with the mounting challenges posed by the proliferation of digital documentation. For example, an overwhelming quantity of human rights video has emerged from the Arab Spring, from the Occupy movement, from efforts to document election fraud in Russia and elsewhere, but the infrastructure, training, and resources to ensure its survival are lacking. As archivists what can we do to change this? How can we ensure that the critical documentation created today will be preserved and accessible in the future?
Among the questions we’ll be discussing:
- Why are human rights archives important?
- Why should human rights activists be concerned with archiving?
- How are human rights archives grappling with challenges associated with citizen documentation, mobile and social media, live/real-time content, and other new and dynamic digital media?
- How do decisions about access get made when a collective right to know conflicts with an individual’s right to privacy?
- What are some available easy-to-use tools and resources for activists and small NGOs or collectives with archiving needs?
- What are the biggest gaps and challenges currently in human rights archiving, and what ideas or steps might be taken to address them?
We have a terrific group of featured practitioners from a range of backgrounds, specializations, and regions, but we urge anyone with expertise or experience to share, or a desire to learn more, to please join in. Simply follow these instructions from New Tactics to register and take part. See you there!