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Room B04

43 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PD

United Kingdom

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Speakers: Ama Josephine Budge (Birkbeck PhD), Fran Lock (Birkbeck PhD), Lina Džuverović (Birkbeck), Rosemary Grennan (MayDayRooms), Piyel Haldar (Birkbeck), Louise Hide (Birkbeck), Sarah Garrod (George Padmore Institute), Stef Dickers (Bishopsgate Institute)

Chairs: Catherine Grant (Birkbeck), Felicity Callard (BISR Director, Birkbeck), Julian Swann (PVM Research, Birkbeck).

This one day conference will consider questions of authorship and power within the archive, and how the materials contained within them can be mobilised from their static locations and repurposed within academic, artistic, radical or imaginary frameworks. A series of short talks, panel discussions and performances given by academics, students and archival professionals will consider archival materials from various perspectives; asking what is at stake in instituting an archives, how archives might be repurposed as political acts, and the ethical dilemmas of dealing with sensitive sources. A series of short performances from current and former Birkbeck students will explore the ways in which archives can be created, imagined, and used to empower marginalised groups. Finally, a group of archival specialists from Bishopsgate Institute, George Padmore Institute, and MayDay Rooms will each explore their individual collections and the ways these can be used in academic research and beyond.


PROGRAMME

10:00 / Coffee and welcome / Room G01


10:30 – 12:00: Panel 1 / Interrogating Archives / Room B04

Speakers: Lina Džuverović, Louise Hide, Piyel Haldar

Chair: Julian Swann

Instituting an Archive by Dr Piyel Haldar

Drawing upon both Roman and English chancery archival practices, this paper will attempt toconceptualize the legal archive as a constituted organism with its own peculiar life form.

The archive was never a dead, or indeed, latent space. It was never simply a repository of dead letters or bureaucratic excrement. It digested, it grew, it reached out, it travelled and it interceded in life (indeed, one might add, the archive was a life-giving apparatus) . In establishing an archive for the law school, the aim has been to attend to the explicit staging of the archive on the social scene. Since this paper will be necessarily brief, I will give emphasis to this last point by focusing on the active engagement of my law school colleague Sarah Keenan with the Birkbeck Law School Archives.

The archive as a political act by Dr Lina Džuverović

Using the examples of the Her Noise Archive and the research project Archive As Strategy: Conversations About Self-historicization Across The East, Lina Dzuverovic will discuss possibilities, politics and realities of working with archives across the curatorial and academic contexts.

Working with sensitive sources by Dr Louise Hide

Many of us working in the humanities, arts and social sciences draw on historical sources. In this talk I will reflect on a number of issues that have been raised in an ongoing series of interdisciplinary seminars on working with personally and politically sensitive sources. What, we have asked, are our responsibilities to our ‘historical subjects’ and how might they shape our research practice? How do we assess what is and is not sensitive? What is our duty of care not only to the living, but to the dead who have not given consent for us to use their personal information? How should we consider records that were generated at a time when less stringent regulations were in place? Should we anonymize, or not? All are deep and pressing questions around ethics and good practice that face researchers today.

12:30 – 13:30: Panel 2 / Imagining Archives / Room B04

Speakers: Ama Josephine Budge (Birkbeck), Fran Lock (Birkbeck)

Chair: Felicity Callard

Speculative Fabulations: Enter the Archive or Beneath Yaba’s Garden by Ama Josephine Budge

I have dreamed of this forest burned to the ground and of strange tall buildings like skinny, branchless trees, with spider threads of connection which flash like lightening sparks of fire. What traces are left of pre-colonial queer African histories for us to find, to feel, to imagine? Does an archive have to exist in order for its history to be real?

Ephemera, Memory and Mourning by Fran Lock

Traveller communities, whose settlements are, by their very nature, transitory, leave no corresponding trace or wound on the physical landscape. If we think of public space as a container for cultural heritage, then Traveller communities, their histories, and their memories, remain uninscribed, and are edited out of the mapping of that heritage. This invisibility has its analogue in archival space where Traveller existence is hedged by legislation at every turn, while remaining, in the most profound sense, “missing” from official narratives of Northern Irish history. This talk considers the letter as a species of archival "ephemera", and asks whether in its apparent inferior status to the body of the “official” archive, it may be used to infiltrate accepted historical records of community violence, transforming archival space into a scene of subaltern saying, where memory, mourning, and protest are inextricably located.

13:30 – 15:00: Lunch / Room G01

Refreshments will be provided


15:00 – 16:30: Panel 3 / Exploring Archives / Room B04

Speakers: Stef Dickers (Bishopsgate Institute), Rosemary Grennan (MayDay Rooms), Sarah Garrod (George Padmore Institute)

Chair: Catherine Grant

16:30 – 18:00: Reception / Room G01

We would like to invite speakers and attendees to join us for a wine reception following the final panel discussion.


Date and Time

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Room B04

43 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PD

United Kingdom

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