Nancy P. Beaumont 2017-05-03 12:57:31
Sometimes I’m just plain dazzled by how things come together. SAA member Judy Blankenship describes in this issue of Archival Outlook (page 3) how, “The Archivo Cultural de Cañar grew out of nearly two decades of documentary work with indigenous communities in a highland region of southern Ecuador. I first ventured to Cañar in the early 1990s as a volunteer on a research project, with the task of teaching two young Cañari men skills in photography and oral history. Twenty years later, after many return trips for teaching and exhibits, two books, three Fulbrights, and the construction of a ‘house in the clouds,’ my husband and I now live six months every year in Cañar and six months in Portland, Oregon.” [She’s from Portland—site of SAA’s 2017 Annual Meeting!] Judy hired SAA member Natalie Baur in 2015 to work with her as “a consultant for creating long-term and sustainable digital preservation of the collections and building local capacity to maintain and access collections. It quickly became clear that this unique, post-custodial, community archives project…would face significant challenges in establishing digital asset management, providing ethical and equitable access to digital collections, and training local professionals to undertake this work.” Natalie is a member of the Program Committee for ARCHIVES 2017: alike/ different in Portland, July 23–29. The conference includes a grand experiment that we’re calling The Liberated Archive: A Forum for Envisioning and Implementing a Community-Based Approach to Archives. This brainchild of Program Committee Chair Terry Baxter and a small steering committee (including Natalie) is intended to provide both community members and archivists with “tools, techniques, and human connections that they can use to transform the way in which the human record is documented.” The full-day forum on Saturday, July 29, will feature keynote presentations by writer/activist/educator/poet Walidah Imarisha and musician/storyteller Joaquin Lopez; ten concurrent panel discussions selected from among 42 proposals; and an afternoon unconference that attendees will help to plan. The forum will explore a different kind of outreach that depends on collaboration and communication to build trusted relationships and make friends and advocates. Very much the type of work called for in SAA’s ambitious goal to “provide leadership in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record.” very much about developing cultural competence. Judy’s article concludes: “We hold standards and professional training and literature in one hand, while in the other we carefully consider how they do or do not fit into the work that is happening in the community. This approach, being critically applied and adopted now by many archivists working on community archives and documentation projects, is creating a whole new vision and set of tools for both community documentarians and archivists.” * Also in this issue (page 14), host Committee member Laura Buchholz shares an ARCHIVES 2017 reading list, compiled to help you “get to know your host city through the words of these Oregon authors and characters.” If you’d rather browse these selections while actually in Portland, Powell’s City of Books (1005 West Burnside Street) is just nine walkable blocks from the hilton Portland. Ranked #1 in the world by The Guardian readers (ahead of City Lights in San Francisco, Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and The Strand in New York City), Powell’s is open from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm every day. (Check the website for hours for the Rare Book Room and “Sell Us Your Books”—and leave room in your suitcase for new treasures!) * I just signed a contract with Brett Burmeister of Moveable Feast in Portland to manage the food cart “pod” that will be the centerpiece of our All-Attendee Reception on Wednesday evening, July 26. So imagine my delight to see posted on our staff bulletin board an article from the March 19 issue of the Chicago Tribune (“Portland’s robust food cart scene a treat for the taste buds”) in which he’s quoted: “It’s a destination spot…. And food brings people together. So every day at these food cart lots, we bring community together. Sometimes you’ll run into a friend; sometimes you’ll make a new friend there.” Another opportunity for community. We hope you’ll run into your friends—and make some new ones—in Portland!
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