Archives and inclusivity unearthing erased communities john rylands library special collections blog washington university college

In the last blog post I discussed the importance of creating racially sensitive archival descriptions. Top universities law in this blog post I will discuss the importance of tactfully highlighting the histories of erased communities within archives through labelling. The following post will have practical suggestions on how this relabelling can be used to increase representation in exhibitions.

All underserved and erased groups need, and deserve, bespoke best practice outlines to faithfully unearth their histories; the key to achieving this is collaboration. Empowering underserved communities with the co-management of archives through research, outreach, and co-curation puts value on their status of expert by lived experience.* as a result these materials can receive additional labelling to link the items to unearth the erased histories and become more accessible to staff and the public alike.

‘for the majority population to effectively understand other groups, they need to see accurate depictions of these groups. American university us news for the minority populations to be a part of the larger society, and not face discrimination based on negative stereotypes, they need to see themselves in a variety of roles. Creators of nonfiction works have an ethical duty to the individuals they portray, the larger subculture they represent, and the consumers who view their work.’ (1)

LGBTQIA+ figures and writings can be found within all subjects throughout history, but their sexuality has often been unwritten, rewritten or coded due to bigotry. Therefore this history becomes buried and is not included in archival record descriptions thus eliminating an important identity of the memories we are attempting to preserve.

For example, michelangelo dedicated over 100 poems and drawings to his lover tommaso. American public university when michelangelo’s nephew published the poems in 1623 the gender of the poems’ subjects and addressees were changed, to female (3) erasing his intended purpose of the poems, this places him in, what we consider now, to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community. (4)

• create a description index and training created in collaboration with communities, groups and other information and recordkeeping professionals for accurate and acceptable descriptors, specific to LGBTQIA+ needs. (refer to previous blog post for further details)

Archives are often used for exhibitions, so it is important that empowered collaboration does not cease here. Long term collaboration with underserved communities will result in diverse and inclusive exhibition narratives, and consequently, increase visitor numbers and archive engagement. I will explore this further in my next post.

(1) kid, M. (2016) archetypes, stereotypes and media representation in a multi-cultural society, procedia – social and behavioural sciences, volume 236, P 25-28. Available at: https://ac.Els-cdn.Com/S1877042816316408/1-s2.0-S1877042816316408-main.Pdf?_tid=689e4ad2-c918-4312-8619 96f37fab70c4&acdnat=1534773433_85eb789dd4697b663bb2b76e3c267938.

(4) I acknowledge the problems inherent in determining the sexuality of someone who is unable to speak for themselves, however, if one is part of the LGBTQIA+ community it is empowering to have the knowledge that powerful figures are part of your social heritage.