“We cannot bring to life those we find cast ashore in the archives, but that is not a reason to make them suffer a second death.”
Out of the Archives...New Archival Practices: Towards Alternative Historiographies, Voices and Spaces
Convened by Rasha Chatta, Pascale Ghazaleh, Lamia Moghnieh and Alia Mossallam
Archive Kabinett, Müllerstraße 133, 13349 Berlin
Interview with the organizers Rasha Chatta, Pascale Ghazaleh, Lamia Moghnieh, Alia Mossallam
Workshop documentation at Trafo – Blog for Transregional Research
Rasha Chatta in conversation with Joseph Kai at Trafo – Blog for Transregional Research
Rasha Chatta, Pascale Ghazaleh, Lamia Moghnieh, Alia Mossallam: Workshop Report: “Out of the Archives New Archival Practices: Towards Alternative Historiographies, Voices, and Spaces”, Trafo – Blog for Transregional Research
Exploring archives, connecting fragmented histories
The rationale for this workshop stems from the conveners’ awareness, as practitioners working on archives in different disciplines, capacities and contexts, of pressing questions concerning these sources and their use. The first of these questions is related to the very nature of the archive: what is archived, why, how, and by whom? The second is related to the legitimacy of those who consume archival material and produce knowledge based on that experience: who grants access, to whom, and why? In other words, who “owns” the archive? The third broad set of questions concerns consumers or recipients: for whom is knowledge produced? Who is the audience? Are they citizens to be educated, targets of ideology, recipients of assumptions regarding what is worthy of preservation, and why?
Based on these concerns, participants will tackle questions relating to access, methodology, and dissemination. We envision a three-day event, part of which will be a practicum, engaging scholars in projects devoted to making their archival materials accessible to wider publics. The panels will be devoted to creating a space for sharing experiences of and in archives; renewing our knowledge of archives in Beirut, Berlin, Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul, and elsewhere - outside the capital cities of the countries that we live and research in; and comparing agendas and approaches.
The workshop will engage participants based in Germany in a broad discussion to explore the potential for creativity in the archive, making connections and contributing to a collective experience and practice of the archive. It will invite practitioners to blur the boundaries between traditional sites of historical knowledge production: the academy, the arts, and civil society. Participants will explore ways in which current techniques of archive conservation tend to erase rather than reveal, and exclude rather than include. We will call for alternative historiographic practices that take into account the experiences of the archives ― for the researcher, but also for the people and stories we find in the archives.