Jun 15 - 2023
Scattered documents, closed doors and institutional amnesia call for a questioning of archival practices and lack thereof. Archives are structures of collective memory and historical continuity. But they are also active sites of power where certain narratives are negotiated, contested or reinforced. As such, archives are defined by what they exclude and marginalize as much as by what they preserve. How, then, can we address the gaps and biases in our archives to unearth lost stories and ephemeral materials that have been left behind? How can experimental approaches help us propose an alternative narrative to missing or fragmented historical evidence?
We invite proposals that seek to engage and activate archives to offer new ways of thinking about the past and the present, by recovering various local histories otherwise unknown or forgotten. Proposals may choose to focus on gaps in institutional archives or, on the other hand, on vernacular or unprocessed ethnographic archives that offer a counter-narrative to dominant institutional discourse. Works can include, but are not limited to, research into the historical formation of institutions and movements, such as: alternative platforms of learning, working-class histories and labor movements, various national minorities’ organizations, feminist platforms, and underground and subcultural movements. In navigating archival silences, we encourage the use of alternative research methodologies, including queer, feminist, and anti-racist tactics, developed in resistance against oppressive and/or biased archival structures.
Heritage of Crises
Most contemporary societies have their scars of history leading to or resulting from war, civil unrest, systematic social oppression and discrimination. These periods of crises have social, psychological or historical repercussions that can be traced in a range of events, sites or practices. In our particular context, this may pertain to sites of resistance and civil disobedience or to the memory of atrocities, such as: massacres and executions, wartime sexual abuse, paths of displacement, locations of disappearances, tangible and intangible loss, places related to prisoners of war and civil or political prisons. The heritage of crises also extends to the healing practices, cultural rituals and expressions that communities have used to make sense of and recover from those very crises.
Methodologies which aim to commemorate, remember, preserve and document, individually or institutionally, the narratives and memory of the aforementioned sites, events and practices, or that provide new approaches to dealing with the past practices, are areas of interest for research, interpretation and documentation.
Storytelling & Interpretation
Placed in tandem, practices of storytelling and interpretation play an important part in changing the way we approach, experience, and communicate cultural heritage. Beyond factual details, storytelling and interpretation focus on the personal and intimate experiences that tie people to a sense of place and time and, as such, unveil the subjective construction of heritage.
Proposals engaging with “Storytelling and Interpretation” can draw upon individual, collective and national histories preserved and narrated as stories, local knowledge and gossip, fairy tales, myths, legends, word of mouth, songs, visual stories, fictions built on truths, which all in all, through a variety of media reveal perspectives that intend to entertain, educate, preserve and enrich our shared culture.