In the summer of 2020, a clear call to work differently resulted in a group (Catherine Trujillo, jaime ding, Grace Yeh (Ethnic Studies), Laura Sorvetti, and a handful of students) to think and discuss their work of collecting stories as people in an higher institution in a careful, community first manner. This resulted in the Ethics of Care, where we believe in connection, empathy, and justice.
"We undertook the responsibility of gathering and sharing these stories as caregivers and center the communities who have been institutionally uncared for. Those who provide their testimony should have agency in the telling of their story. We respect the time, energy, and vulnerability it takes to express one’s words, thoughts, and experiences. Thus, we are mindful of how we make space for those who share their stories before, during, and after our conversation. We recognize that— once a narrator’s words are given publicly—they belong to the public to engage with and learn from. Until then, the narrator has the right to choose what they would like to share with the public(s) that exist now and in the future. As story gatherers, we commit to listen to, care for, support, and check in with the narrator through the process of leaving their stories as a gift."
The following tabs list our selected resources that guided the conversations, practice, and ideas that have evolved to our ethics of care practice. We are deeply grateful to Drs. Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor for providing the foundation for this work:
Ethics of Care: a reorientation towards archives, in thinking of how to carry such heavy responsibility and tasks with radical empathy and obligations of care.
Indigenous Citation Practices: a generous guide to understanding how citation practices need to differ for different systems of knowledge.
Oral Histories: ethical responsibilities for specifically the academic practice of oral history.
Archiving Projects: examples of organizations (and their practices) who are already taking community-based approaches to archives and gathering stories.
Protecting Activists: multimedia resources (videos, zines, articles) for ethnical archiving practices to protect protesters and activists.
Copyright and Licensing: general guidelines and definitions of important ideas of intellectual property, namely public domain and licensing.
Caswell, Michelle, and Marika Cifor. "From human rights to feminist ethics: radical empathy in the archives." Archivaria 81.1 (2016): 23-43. Article link
Caswell, Michelle, and Marika Cifor. "Neither a beginning nor an end: Applying an ethics of care to digital archival collections." The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites. Routledge, 2019. 159-168. EBook/PDF with chapter
Arellano Douglas, V. (2020). Moving from Critical Assessment to Assessment as Care. Communications in Information Literacy, 14 (1), 46-65. Article
Michelle Caswell, Alda Allina Migoni, Noah Geraci and Marika Cifor, “’To Be Able to Imagine Otherwise’: Community Archives and the Importance of Representation.” Archives and Records 38(1) (2016) (special issue on public history): 1-20. Article via OneSearch; article via ResearchGate
Luka, Mary Elizabeth, and Mélanie Millette. “(Re)Framing Big Data: Activating Situated Knowledges and a Feminist Ethics of Care in Social Media Research.” Social Media + Society, (April 2018). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305118768297.
MacLeod, L. Smith, James (Cree nation) (2021). More Than Personal Communication: Templates For Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 5(1), 1-5. direct link to article. As shared by: indigenouslibrarian (nêhiyaw-Métis Cree)
“Who Owns Oral History? A Creative Commons Solution”: “Who “owns” oral history? When an oral history narrator shares her story in response to questions posed by an interviewer, and the recording and transcript are deposited in an archive, who holds the rights to these historical source materials? Who decides whether or not they may be shared with the public, quoted in a publication, or uploaded to the web? Who decides whether someone has the right to earn money from including an interview in a commercially distributed book, video, or website? Furthermore, does Creative Commons, a licensing tool developed by the open access movement to protect copyright while increasing public distribution, offer a better solution to these questions than existing oral history protocols?” https://ontheline.trincoll.edu/who-owns-oral-history.html
Texas After Violence Project (TAVP) “has documented hundreds of hours of in-depth personal testimonies that reflect a wide array of perspectives and experiences with interpersonal and state violence. Narrators include murder victim survivors; the loved ones of people that have been executed by the state; the loved ones of those that have been killed by police; prosecutors and defense attorneys; judges, jurors, law enforcement and corrections officers; formerly incarcerated people; clergy, activists, and advocates.”
UCSD Race and Oral History Project: “A collaboration of UCSD students and community-based and grassroots organizations in the Greater SD region. Its goal is to document the life stories of everyday people who make up the city yet are often marginalized from its narratives. Through oral history, we seek to expand the archives on racial and ethnic communities in San Diego, to foster collaborations between students and our community partners, and to engage students in the public humanities and the digital humanities.”https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/san-diego/story/2020-04-30/oral-histories and https://knit.ucsd.edu/rohp/
“The Community Archives Lab at UCLA explores the ways that independent, identity-based memory organizations document, shape, and provide access to the histories of minoritized communities, with a particular emphasis on understanding their affective, political, and artistic impact.” One of their projects “examined the way Asian American, Latinx, and LGBTQ community archives in Southern California counter the absence or mis-portrayal (what feminist communication scholars have termed “symbolic annihilation”) of their communities in mainstream media and archives by providing both avenues for autonomous self-representation and politically generative future-oriented spaces for shaping collective memory.”
Community Digital Archiving ethics, using principles:
Participation: the Archive involves local community members in the decision making process about what materials are collected, how materials are described, and who has access. Moreover, the Archive empowers Cleveland community members to maintain the custody and direction of the Archive over time.
Perspective: the Archive is strengthened through the inclusion of records in varied formats and perspective, and the Archive is weakened through metanarratives that simply replace one form of dominant narrative with a new dominant narrative.
Power: Through the analysis of institutional power, the Archive identifies and unpacks systems of oppression while also analyzing the narratives that help to legitimize and hold these institutions in place.
The Blackivists: https://www.theblackivists.com/our-mission provide professional expertise on cultural heritage archiving and preservation practices to document historically underdocumented communities. Vision: By helping individuals and organizations inventory, document, and preserve all aspects of humanity, we aim to empower people to use the past to speculate on or create through direct action radical, liberatory and inclusive futures for us all.
WITNESS helps people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. https://www.witness.org/our-work/ “We identify critical situations and teach those affected by them the basics of video production, safe and ethical filming techniques, and advocacy strategies.”
“Documenting the Now” responds to the public's use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars, students, and archivists, among others, seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving this type of digital content. Documenting the Now has a strong commitment to prioritizing ethical practices when working with social media content, especially in terms of collection and long-term preservation. This commitment extends to Twitter's notion of honoring user intent and the rights of content creators.”
Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented): "a radical grassroots archival consortia project to create a centralized digital space highlighting analog and digital collections emphasizing student activism in marginalized communities"
Archives for Black Lives Philadelphia: “Archives For Black Lives in Philadelphia (A4BLiP) is a loose association of archivists, librarians, and allied professionals in the area responding to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. The group was inspired by Jarrett Drake, formerly Digital Archivist at Princeton University, and his work to end archives’ erasure of Black lives.”
Bergis, Jules; Summers, Ed; Mitchell, Dr. Vernon Jr. (April 2018) White Paper: “Ethical Considerations for Archiving Social Media Content Generated by Contemporary Social Movements: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recommendations.” Documenting The Now. https://www.docnow.io/docs/docnow-whitepaper-2018.pdf
Genevieve Carpio, Sharon Luk, Adam Bush; Building People's Histories: Graduate Student Pedagogy, Undergraduate Education, and Collaboration with Community Partners, Journal of American History, Volume 99, Issue 4, 1 March 2013, Pages 1176–1188, https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jas601