Accepted Paper:

Participation and dissemination: towards slow listening and a distributed duty of care?  


Cliona O'Carroll (University College Cork)

Paper short abstract:

Online dissemination of audio interviews is often expected of oral history projects, but we do not adequately understand the implications of the cognitive impact of different forms of mediation. Can we encourage slow listening and a distributed duty of care in this context?

Paper long abstract:

The Cork Folklore Project, a community-based urban folklore archive, has functioned as one iteration of participatory folklore research since 1996. With non-academic researchers interviewing, archiving, and contributing to the research agenda, the project has supported community groups and individuals in cultural heritage and social inclusion undertakings, and is in many ways a recognised member of the local community.

Up to now, our core activities—collection through audio interviewing, the provision of on-site access to collections, and highly curated dissemination—have been carried out in contexts of face-to-face interaction that support duty of care towards the material and people involved, and recognition of the audio interviews as rich, sometimes intimate, informal yet 'fixed', relationally-embedded human interactions.

A shift to digital practice brings a range of opportunities and expectations to bear on our dissemination practices. Pressing questions arise for audio archives of everyday experience, regarding form, intent and 'impact'. What might it mean to make long-form 'talk' available to mass audiences, in terms of how people may (or may not) interact with this material, fundamentally different as it is to other forms of online self-representation? What do we need to understand about the cognitive impact of listening to the mediated human voice, and of the use of particular digital media and interfaces, about digital abundance and the structuring presentation conventions regarding text, image and sound? And what kind of innovative action might we take, in order to encourage a more distributed, participatory, duty of care with regard to this material?

Panel Arch01
Participatory archives in a transforming world [SIEF Working Group on Archives] [P+R]