Archiving Voices and Lives from the Margins

An event hosted by Dr Claire Eldridge (History) and Dr Nina Wardleworth (French) to discuss potential activities, collaborations and outcomes for a proposed Sadler Seminar series.

Date: 22-03-2017
Time: 16:00 - 17:30

Across the disciplines, academic research has increasingly sought to devote attention to groups that have previously been absent from our records, be these academic discourses, museums, archives or mainstream cultural productions. This process has begun to influence research priorities and practises as well as curriculum design as the histories and cultures of marginalised communities are increasingly recognised and represented.

Acknowledging the considerable work still to be done and seeking to contribute to the further development of this process, this seminar series wishes to explore the questions, opportunities and challenges associated with tracing and archiving voices from the margins.

We conceive of the ‘archive’ in very broad terms, with both a physical and digital presence, and would like to investigate the use of these repositories in cultural production, political mobilisation and policy making. This entails engaging with the questions that this raises about how we find, access, collate, curate and preserve these invaluable perspectives, which rarely find a home in more traditional repositories. Often this work falls to the communities themselves, but to what extent does this lead to a disconnect between their stories and the wider public and institutional narratives and re-enforce problematic binaries and power structures? Does archiving always have to include a paper trail or official institution home? How have films, websites, photography collections sought to construct a form of alternative archive to counter a lack of archival traces? Who gets to decide what is preserved? How can this be challenged or subverted? How can memories of different groups around a particular event be combined in a palimpsestic manner without erasing difference?

Rather than simply a top-down academic discourse on the right ways of preserving pasts, this series will seek to engage with and learn from communities about their own experiences and their perspectives on best practice (wants and wishes).

The series will focus on the following three distinct but connected aspects;

1)      Tracing

2)      Access and Archiving

3)      Disseminating

Colleagues interested in contributing to this proposed series are invited to attend this 'coffee & cake' event to discuss further potential activities, collaborations and outcomes. The organisers would be grateful if you could please email in advance to register your attendance.

Equally, if you are unable to make this event but would like to be involved or if you have any questions in advance of it, please email:

Dr Claire Eldridge (History) –

Dr Nina Wardleworth (French) –


Location: LHRI - Seminar Room 2
Cost: Free