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Archival Activism: Community-Centred Approaches to Archives



22nd Oct 2020

Join us on 22 Oct for an event exploring the collection and preservation of community-based archival initiatives and social media content.

22 Oct 2020, 19:00-20:30 IST, 14:00-15:30 EDT

Community-centred archive initiatives can be seen as acts of activism: they address gaps in official traditional archives and some are even formed as direct responses to social movements.

The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States sparked a global conversation about racism and social injustice. In Ireland, it also started a conversation about the experiences of the Black Irish community. These experiences are documented in Black and Irish, a social media community which was founded in June 2020 ‘to build a platform where people could share their experiences of growing up Black in Ireland’ and to grow awareness of ‘not only the struggles, but also the successes of the Black Irish community’.

This collaborative webinar, organised by the Digital Repository of Ireland and National Archives, Ireland, will highlight the memory work of community archivists, like the founders of Black and Irish, who are building freely accessible online collections documenting the stories of their communities and making decisions about how these stories should be collected, organised, and shared. Boni Odoemene, one of the co-founders of Black and Irish, will talk about the collection and curation of stories of the Black Irish community. Digital archivist Zakiya Collier will explore the self-curated, collaborative, digital archival practices that have been developed by community archivists and the importance of empowering people to do this work. We hope to open up a conversation about how national memory institutions can offer their digital preservation skills and profession-based knowledge to support community-based archival initiatives and form equitable partnerships to foster more diverse cultural collections. To set the broader context, a critique of community archives and their important role in challenging the idea of what constitutes a traditional archive will be provided by Dr Sharon Webb, a digital humanities professor whose research focuses on community archives and digital preservation.


  • Boni Odoemene: Boni is an International Relations Masters graduate from Dublin, who is one is one of the co-founders of Black and Irish, a social media community that aims to highlight and celebrate the identity of Black Irish people by spreading awareness around the world of the experiences, struggles and successes of the Black Irish community. Boni became one of Ireland’s first ever elected black Students’ Union Presidents in 2016, serving 2 terms as President of the Dublin Institute of Technology Students’ Union.
  • Zakiya Collier: Zakiya is the Digital Archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture where she uses web archiving tools to expand the nature of archival collections to reflect 21st-century Black life and experiences. She has recently co-authored a call to action to ethically and comprehensively archive Black experiences of state-sanctioned violence including, but not limited to COVID-19 and police killings. 
  • Dr Sharon Webb: Sharon is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex, History Department and a member of the Sussex Humanities Lab. Sharon’s current research interests include community archives and identity, with a special interest in LGBTQ+ archives, feminist and BAME archives, social network analysis (method and theory), and research data management.

Join us on 22 Oct to participate in the conversation around the ethical collection and preservation of community-based archival initiatives and social media content. Registration is free at the following link:

The event will take place on Zoom Webinar but it is not necessary to have a Zoom account to join. The event will be recorded but audience members will not be visible in the recording.

This event will also be live streamed to the DRI Facebook Page.  


Image credit: Galymzhan Abdu Galimivo on Unsplash 

DRI is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) via the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Research Council (IRC).

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