This round-table explores contemporary archival practices in and from the Middle East, focusing on organizations and institutions that utilize digital platforms to collect and preserve documentary media from historically marginalized worlds.
Going against the model of archive as a structure of power and governance, these alternative archives re-make the world in the present and radically re-envision its future by materializing and publicizing histories that are often silenced and invisibilized.
How do such initiatives navigate between lived experience, material artifact, and digital database? How do they negotiate the creative dimensions of preservation, balancing the archive's historical mission with its ability to forge alternative communities in the present? What is the relationship between archival practices, organizational structures, and the communities such organizations serve?
Representatives from three archival initiatives present their work, addressing questions of purpose, access, usage, and temporality:
• Diana Allan & Kaoukab Chebaro present The Nakba Archive, an oral history project collecting video interviews with first generation Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, with all 1000 hours of video soon to be launched as an open access archive online.
• George Awde & Yasmine Eid Sabbagh discuss the work of the Arab Image Foundation, which collects and preserves photographs from the Arab world, from the mid-19th century to the present. The AIF is currently re-designing their online platform, which will launch in 2019.
• Christian Rossipal discusses Noncitizen Archive, an independent platform for secure storage of digital video, audio, and photographs from migrant experiences today.
With respondent Jared McCormick (Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies).