'To imagine otherwise': get inspired

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Sharpen your thinking with the webinar series To imagine otherwise: future archives.

The digital transformation of our society has an enormous impact on the nature and form of information. Art, too, is increasingly taking on non-tangible forms. The preservation of art is a major challenge for art and heritage organizations today. Questions arise around technological, practical and ethical issues, such as:

  • What do we preserve?
  • How do we determine what should be preserved?
  • How do we preserve?
  • How can we decide today what is important for the future?
  • Are we aware of (the limitations of) our frames of reference? Do we unconsciously engage in canon formation?
  • Do we have a responsibility to portray gender and diversity?
  • What about participation?
  • How do we relate to governments and the public?
  • And in all this: how do we justify our choices?

In a series of four webinars, spread over the fall of 2021 and the spring of 2022, four international leading experts will talk about the archive of the future. After each lecture there will be plenty of time to ask questions and share experiences. Each lecture stands alone. You choose which and how many lectures to attend.

The moderators are Saskia Scheltjens, head of Research Services departement of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and her colleague Maarten Heerlien, he is head of Collection Information & Archives at the Research Services department.

Target group:

  • This series is intended for anyone in cultural heritage for whom managing and documenting (art) heritage is a challenge and an assignment. In addition, everyone who is interested in this theme is also welcome.

The language is English. Participation is free of charge.

1st webinar: What is the role of the archivist in times of (online) participation?

Alexandra Eveleigh (Collections Information Manager at Wellcome Collection in London) kicked off on December 7 with the theme What is the role of the archivist in times of (online) participation?”. The report of the first webinar can be read here, and here you can watch Alexandra Eveleigh’s presentation:

2nd webinar: The Urgency of Feminist Standpoint Appraisal

The theme of the second webinar, on Friday, February 11, was The Urgency of Feminist Standpoint Appraisal”. The guest speaker was Michelle Caswell, Associate Professor of Archival Studies, Department of Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The webinar’s Q&A report can be read here. Here you can watch Michelle Caswell’s presentation: 

3rd webinar: Representation: Hearing Voices in the (Counter-)Archive

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, 3:00 — 4:30 pm CEST, the third webinar Representation: Hearing Voices in the (Counter-)Archive” will take place. The guest speaker is Andrew Flinn, Reader in Archival Studies and Oral History at University College London (UCL).

In this talk Andrew Flinn will connect a number of themes and approaches to questions of representation in the archives and in the historical narratives that derive in part from those archives. In considering the contestation and counter-archival initiatives of the past I will draw on oral history practices, Sven Lindqvist’s Dig Where You Stand’, Stuart Hall’s Constituting the Archive’ and independent community-based archives and examine what implications these and contemporary practices such as rogue archives and conflict documentation have for Future Archives in the digital world. Following Michelle Caswell’s entreaty to make change in the present (not only or in addition to changing the future), I will swerve around the role of national archives and other state funded bodies, concentrating rather on the individuals and communities that take ownership of their own archival narratives and ensure the place of their own voices in the archives.

Register here for free for the third webinar.

4th webinar: Future Prospects for Digitisation

Andrew Prescott (Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow) concludes the webinar series with Future Prospects for Digitisation” on Friday, June 3 2022, 3.004.30 pm CEST.

When the production of digital images of libraries and archives first widely appeared in the 1990s, the process had a strong experimental aspect, enabling innovative explorations of the structure and character of the manuscript. As digitisation has entered the mainstream, it has become less adventurous and often simply consists of the production of vanilla’ colour images. While this has benefits for remote access and enables curators to control more closely use of original manuscripts, it also misses the opportunities offered by digital tools for closer analysis of the physical structure of manuscripts. It seems likely that this retrospective mass production approach to digitisation will become increasingly unsatisfactory to both curators and users.

This talk will indicate three areas in which our current approach to digitisation will be challenged. First, we will want to use tools such as multi-spectral imaging and RTI techniques to explore manuscript material in more detail. Second, we have hitherto been primarily concerned with digitising existing written records. However, the explosion in born-digital records will pose major issues in terms of resources, methods and access. This will require greater data science and computer science skills than have been deployed hitherto. Third, we will need completely new forms of interface to cope with the vast quantities of born-digital records that will become available. It is here that we will need to consider the possibilities offered by VR and AI.

Register here for free for the fourth webinar.



To imagine otherwise: future archives
is an initiative of CEMPER, Letterenhuis, HKA/CKV, VAi, FARO and meemoo.

Klik hier om het artikel in het Nederlands te lezen.

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