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Speech at the international conference Archives, Access and AI: Working with Born-Digital and Digitised Archival Collections con l’intervento dal titolo Socializing the Archive, London, Loughborough University, 15-17 Jan. 2020.


Abstract:
How can we give greater access to archives currently closed to the public? What are the best ways to involve donors of archives, and work with them in an active and collaborative way? These are some of the key questions that archivists, researchers and curators at CSAC have been asking during the last years. CSAC is a research centre of the University of Parma, which started its activities in 1968. Right from the start, it concentrated on assembling a collection of fine art, photography, architectural drawings, design, fashion and graphics, just by donation, as well as organizing exhibitions and publishing catalogues. Soon it started collecting and preserving not just artworks but entire archives of Italian artists, photographers, architects, product, graphic and fashion designer. Since 2007, it has been based at the Valserena Abbey, a medieval building just a few kilometres from Parma, and It is divided into five sections – Fine Art, Photography, Media,
Project, and Visual Arts – containing around 12 million single items. This institution, which can be considered unique in the Italian panorama, has always operated as an archive and has never had a
cluster of digital platforms, until 2015. Since then a permanent exhibition space has been opened inside the abbey and the centre decided to open a website, social networks profiles and several
other digital platforms, with the precise goal of animating the archive and documenting the activities and research. I worked as a fellow researcher, inside a digital humanities team, to develop
strategies for these new communities, to make them central to the life of the research center, alongside the public of researchers and visitors that already knew CSAC, consulted its archives,
worked on exhibitions and loans, read the books and visited itsshows. The goal was mainly listening to these very different group of people, giving them access to digital contents (and to new physical spaces), while keeping them updated with the huge amount of information contained inside the archives and that the archives generate every day. This proposal aims at discussing how to Socialize the Archive, presenting strategies and models developed for a specific case study to make its collections accessible, while revealing the overall complexity of the exhibition and archive activities.


Speech at the international conference Archives, Access and AI: Working with Born-Digital and Digitised Archival Collections con l’intervento dal titolo Socializing the Archive, London, Loughborough University, 15-17 Jan. 2020.


Abstract:
How can we give greater access to archives currently closed to the public? What are the best ways to involve donors of archives, and work with them in an active and collaborative way? These are some of the key questions that archivists, researchers and curators at CSAC have been asking during the last years. CSAC is a research centre of the University of Parma, which started its activities in 1968. Right from the start, it concentrated on assembling a collection of fine art, photography, architectural drawings, design, fashion and graphics, just by donation, as well as organizing exhibitions and publishing catalogues. Soon it started collecting and preserving not just artworks but entire archives of Italian artists, photographers, architects, product, graphic and fashion designer. Since 2007, it has been based at the Valserena Abbey, a medieval building just a few kilometres from Parma, and It is divided into five sections – Fine Art, Photography, Media,
Project, and Visual Arts – containing around 12 million single items. This institution, which can be considered unique in the Italian panorama, has always operated as an archive and has never had a
cluster of digital platforms, until 2015. Since then a permanent exhibition space has been opened inside the abbey and the centre decided to open a website, social networks profiles and several
other digital platforms, with the precise goal of animating the archive and documenting the activities and research. I worked as a fellow researcher, inside a digital humanities team, to develop
strategies for these new communities, to make them central to the life of the research center, alongside the public of researchers and visitors that already knew CSAC, consulted its archives,
worked on exhibitions and loans, read the books and visited itsshows. The goal was mainly listening to these very different group of people, giving them access to digital contents (and to new physical spaces), while keeping them updated with the huge amount of information contained inside the archives and that the archives generate every day. This proposal aims at discussing how to Socialize the Archive, presenting strategies and models developed for a specific case study to make its collections accessible, while revealing the overall complexity of the exhibition and archive activities.

More Related Content

Socializing the Archive

  1. 1. Marco Scotti research fellow Università di Parma IUAV,Venezia Socializing the Archive
  2. 2. Social Media and the Archives?
  3. 3. CSAC, an archive and research centre of the University of Parma for the study of visual and design culture in Italy. Now also a museum. www.csacparma.it
  4. 4. Use social media to help deliver specific marketing, learning and participation goals – don’t do it for the sake of it. (Imagemakers 2011,8)
  5. 5. The changing relations between museum, art practice and the archive, as a place and expression of the individual or collective memory. (Merewether, 2006) the role of the archive: private, intimate and institutional?
  6. 6. regardless of whether the archive is composed of print, photographs, film and/or digital media, the technologies used to organize, search and share documents have taken over the purview of the Foucauldian state, with the crowd acting as the control mechanism. (Dekker 2017) Old contents in a new contest?
  7. 7. …from the physical building or location, to the gathering of documents in these spaces, or the more conceptual response of process-bound information that refers to the way documents (or records) are created, structured and recorded as part of working processes and by which they can be queried and probed. (Horsman 2009) what is an archive?
  8. 8. Animating the archive we started identifying clear objectives… redefine CSAC as an accessible archive and a new integrated museum system create an accessible digital platform to inform the public, share contents and activities and make everyone aware of the heritage and patrimony of CSAC learn from interaction with users integrate all the platforms and channels exploit the opportunities offered by digital tools to return the complexity, in particular of research and didactic activities. create dialogues between archives and collections keep the contents always at the centre of our attention
  9. 9. …applying them to different social networks Social media are ultimately about engagement, dialogue and the creation of social capital. (Pett, 2012)
  10. 10. How can we give greater access to archives currently nearly closed to the public? What are the best ways to involve donors of archives, and work with them in an active and collaborative way? and questions….
  11. 11. https://www.csacparma.it/ricerca/
  12. 12. Wikipedian-in-residence
  13. 13. the distinct points of view of the archive producer, the archive manager and the user cohabit, but also integrate different policies and requirements, as is happening ever more frequently in the new dimension of digital resources, beyond canonical definitions of archive, collection and museum. re-thinking the strategies and involving the people who were working on the archives
  14. 14. Collaborations between archivists and scholars need to address the entire cycle of born-digital archives – from donors to end users. Archivists have long recognised the importance of involving donors – for example, to understand the organisation and content of the archive (Jaillant 2019, 299)
  15. 15. while the archivist has always occupied a multifaceted role as scholar, editor, publisher, steward, and collaborator, archival work in the digital age has further blurred these roles. (Clement, Hagenmaier & Knies, 2013, 112–130)
  16. 16. Consider digitalization programs and digital strategies Do not replace the archive materials, enhance them Not just reproductions, but challenges on how to make data and physical object work together Digitalization alone does not solve any problem. Accessibility is not the only solution, if a community of potentially interested people do not know something exists or do not know what to do with it
  17. 17. models
  18. 18. Archive that tweets… https://twitter.com/cooperhewitt 80% of the Smithsonian collections have never been seen by anyone
  19. 19. https://metalabharvard.github.io/projects/curarium/ Curarium is a collection of collections, an “animated archive” crowdsourcing annotation, curation, and augmentation of works within and beyond their respective collections.
  20. 20. #museumweek
  21. 21. collaborations
  22. 22. collaboration with a digital agency: Aicod
  23. 23. campaigns
  24. 24. working together with partners
  25. 25. exploring new possibilities…
  26. 26. We should begin to see all documentation as intervention, and all archiving as part of some sort of collective project. Rather than being the tomb of the trace, the archive is more frequently the product of the anticipation of collective memory. (Appadurai 2003, 16)

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