With approximately 300 attendees and over 70 speakers, the Project is so happy to have participated in the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center annual conference called “Cultural Heritage Archives: Networks, Innovation and Collaboration.” You can find the schedule here. We presented on a panel called “Sharing Resources” with this description:
Archives today do much to reach out to external audiences for support through crowd-sourcing, targeted participation, on-site volunteerism and internships, among other strategies. This session looks to the field for examples of ongoing collaborations between archives, both successful and unsuccessful.
The conference brought archivists, researchers, historians, librarians and more from around the globe to talk about the importance of maintaining these kind of archives. Panelists represented film archives, botany and natural life museums, and localized special collection; housed at universities and government agencies. Unlike traditional conferences, this one asked speakers to present for no more than 5 minutes to introduce the work they are doing at their home institution. The rest of the time was dedicated to the discussion on the experiences of creating an archive based on materials that illustrate the cultural heritage of a group including the lessons learned and failures that each panelist has seen in their work.
While nearly all of the speakers represented more traditional archives: where they are housed, how they are sourced, who staffs them, the Project stood apart as one of the only fully community-sourced and supported cultural heritage archive. Which is exciting!
Many of the questions from the audience were centered on collaboration: how does it happen? who speaks for the community? how does the Project find funding? I am happy to say that the answers to each of these questions returned to the important work of the community. From the start, we have been proud to say that this is a community-accountable endeavor. Without all of you generously donating your materials and your time, this Project would not exist. The collaborators we have worked with along the way have been invaluable in helping us shape the discussion and bring our goals to a new platform of users, researchers and residents of North Carolina.