SIEF2019 14th Congress: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
14-17 April 2019

(Arch01)
Participatory archives in a transforming world [SIEF Working Group on Archives] [P+R]
Location Room 07
Date and Start Time 15 Apr, 2019 at 09:00
Sessions 3

Convenors

  • Sanita Reinsone (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia) email
  • Ave Goršič (Estonian Literary Museum) email

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Short abstract

The panel brings into focus different participatory practices tradition/cultural archives are carrying out and especially how these practices change due to outer influences - be it political, cultural, digital or other transformations.

Long abstract

Collaborative work and folklore collecting have been closely related concepts since the 19th century when the collection and study of folklore was undertaken on such a large scale as never before. The history and practices of folklore collecting convincingly prove the success and fruitfulness of the collaborative archival approaches and are admirable for their reach and the high capability and keenness of the past generations driven by enthusiasm and the awareness that their contribution is valuable and needed. The digital age has forced tradition archives to adapt their working strategies in order to address digitally literate generations that are more likely to prefer the virtual sharing of knowledge that tradition archives are interested in. Involving society in collecting folklore digitally is a continuation of the key process performed and managed by tradition/cultural archives since their establishment.

Tradition archives stem from the ideas of knowledge keeping and participation, encouraging continuous participation to keep themselves open and functioning through transformations, thus also explaining the necessity of continuation of their existence.

The panel invites submissions that focus on different participatory practices carried out by tradition/cultural archives in different times and (1) trace past experiences of tradition archives in broad society engagement, reveal methods and discuss results, as well as continuity or conflict of practices; (2) discuss transition of participatory practices during various transformations - political, cultural, digital and others; (3) critically reveal archival participatory approaches used in the digital age and (4) reveal case studies illustrating participatory practices in folklore collecting.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

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

Author: Cliona O'Carroll (University College Cork) email
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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?

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?

'…There's something magical there': personal meanings in cultural heritage crowd sourcing

Author: Sanita Reinsone (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia) email
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Short abstract

The presentation addresses the personal dimension of intangible heritage crowdsourcing by bringing into focus high-level participants who devote their time to practice cultural heritage crowdsourcing on a regular basis.

Long abstract

During the last decade, crowdsourcing has proved to be a useful method for approaching cultural heritage and humanities sources. Although the term is fairly new (known only since 2006), the approach is widely acknowledged for the genuine advantages and opportunities it offers. Cultural heritage institutions stand to benefit not only from its collective intelligence and creativity but also obtain significant help in processing digitised collections. The general public benefits from being personally introduced to the vast richness of diverse cultural heritage materials and empowered to engage as volunteers.

Acknowledging that whatever the nature of the performed crowdsourcing tasks (which can vary from very technical to very creative), each multi-engagement consists of many personalized experiences. Thus, getting to know the most active participants, exploring their way of life, their viewpoints and habits (including virtual ones) enable to acquire a deeper understanding about how cultural heritage is being lived and practised and what incentives motivate participation.

In the presentation, I introduce a personal approach to the study of cultural heritage crowdsourcing by bringing into focus high-level participants who devote their time to cultural heritage crowdsourcing on a regular basis. The presented case study is based on a crowdsourcing initiative carried out by the Archives of Latvian Folklore (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia) since June 2016.

The main questions for discussion are: how is cultural heritage being experienced through digital space and how is digital engagement narratively interpreted by the participants themselves.

Ichpedia in the Republic of Korea: intangible cultural heritage inventorying made "wiki"

Author: Jessica Rossi email
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Short abstract

ICHpedia is an online based encyclopedia, which relies on users' interaction and a bottom-up approach for the inventorying of Korean intangible cultural heritage, thus fostering active participation in the creation of an open-access online archive and enlarging the community of practice.

Long abstract

The inventorying of traditional cultural expressions should be carried out hand-in-hand with local communities, which are the original repositories of traditional knowledge, as clearly stated in Article 11 of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Republic of Korea has, since its ratification, fostered the preservation and awareness raising on the importance of traditional culture. In order to accomplish this task, it has developed not only a 'bricks and mortar' organisational system, but it has also digitised its national ICH archives. Since 2010, an online-based project named ICHpedia has collected more than 60,000 miscellaneous documents on Korean ICH from web-users. Thanks to this wiki project and to ICTs, information regarding traditional culture can be easily spread through the network allowing everybody to check all the collected materials by using a simple search bar. Users can also contribute to the enrichment of the encyclopedia entries by adding new contents and transforming their experience from an inactive to a participative one.

The project has demonstrated to be a successful way of collecting precious folk materials through a bottom-up approach, moreover, it has stimulated the emergence of a collective intelligence in the cyberspace through the collaboration of local-based communities of practice and individuals around the world. On the other hand, it has also risen some doubts on the issues related with IPRs and the need of a new definition for communities of practice, which should take account of the possibilities unfastened by new technologies.

From text to digital corpus: a case study on the multi-voiced big data project on political culture

Author: Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti (The Finnish Literature Society) email
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Short abstract

In my paper, I will bring into discussion one case study in which the big data contains material e.g. from the Parliament Library's Veteran MP Oral History Archive and the Finnish Literature Society's Archive.

Long abstract

In my paper, I will bring into discussion one case study in which the big data contains material from the last 30 years from the Parliament Library's Veteran Members of Parliament Oral History Archive and from two collection project organized by the Finnish Literature Society's Archive.

The project 'Voices of Democracy. The Will of the People by the People and By Their Representatives' project (University of Tampere/PI Matti Hyvärinen) combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to political culture.

How interpretation changes as the archive practices of collecting and presenting material has transformed? How may the voice of the narrators be heard in different context, digital big data environment? What kind of new results might reveal?

Involvement of society in collecting of Latvian charms: from the past to digital era

Author: Aigars Lielbārdis (University of Latvia) email
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Short abstract

Paper is devoted to the collecting history of Latvian Charms providing insight into society involvement in folklore collecting campaigns since the second half of 19th century up to nowadays.

Long abstract

The first collecting campaign of Latvian folklore was accomplished in summer of 1869 by Latvian folklorist Fricis Brīvzemnieks. During his fieldwork, Brīvzemnieks met both teachers and cultural activists, as well as simple folk - farmers, and invited them to gather folklore. As a result, a wide network of collectors of folklore developed, who sent the collected materials - folk songs, legends, riddles and also charms - to F. Brīvzemnieks in Moscow.

The second wide range campaign of society involvement in collecting folklore was organised by the Archives of Latvian Folklore in the 1920's-30's. Schools and students from all over Latvia were involved in collecting of folklore. Most of the stored folklore texts in Archives of Latvian folklore (ALF) are collected in collaboration with schools in this period.

The third attempt to involve society in collecting and sending folklore to the ALF is on the move alongside with development of digital archives and within the frame of the digital catalogue of Latvian charms.

The 'Scotland's sounds' network: exploring the participatory role of sound archives in continuing traditions

Author: Naomi Harvey (Heriot-Watt University) email
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Short abstract

This paper will discuss the 'Scotland's Sounds' network of sound collections; exploring how this 'distributed archive' model functions through participatory work across the sound archive sector, and looking at how increasing access to archives has an impact on the practice of cultural traditions.

Long abstract

'Scotland's Sounds' is a network of sound collections from across Scotland, ranging from large national institutions to small community groups, from analogue collections to born-digital materials, and everything in between. Based on a 'distributed archive' model, the network engages in participatory practices through sharing expertise and resources, providing training opportunities across the sector, and developing innovative uses of sounds to engage creatively with archive users.

Scotland currently has no national sound archive or repository. From one viewpoint, the adoption of a network model to care for Scotland's sound heritage could be seen as a cost-effective substitute for a national archive in these times of political 'austerity'. However, fundamental to the ethos of the network is the principle that the heritage represented in sound collections should remain in the communities or localities in which it was collected or created. This approach is aligned with current developments in cultural heritage practices which emphasise participatory working.

This paper will describe how this network functions, using data gathered through participant-observation of activities. With a particular focus on sound collections of traditional song, it will explore examples of the use and creative re-use of sound archive materials, through fieldwork interviews with archivists who have engaged in creative projects with Scotland's Sounds. Crucially, it will also present data gathered from traditional performers who make use of sound archive materials, in order to interrogate how current transformations of the concept of what an archive is and does has an impact on contemporary practices of cultural heritage.

Present heritage and past practices

Author: Elin Nystrand von Unge (Stockholm University) email
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Short abstract

This paper examines the role of the City museum in Stockholm, as an actor among many, in the public mourning process that took place after the terror attack on the 7th of April 2017. In this case study I pose questions to the consequences of participatory collecting practices in a digital age.

Long abstract

On the seventh of April, at 14:53, the Swedish capital was hit by a terror attack. In the busiest shopping street in Stockholm, a man stole a truck and ploughed into pedestrians, before finally crashing into a big shopping mall. Five people died and many more were injured. Only two days after the attempt the Stockholm City Museum started Project 14:53. The venture was an attempt to use new digital media to collect public reactions related to the attack. However, this paper will not focus on the attempt itself, but rather on the process of public mourning that took place afterwards and the part the City Museum subsequently played in these activities. The aim of the collecting project was to gather the public's reactions to the terror attack but, in doing so, the museum had become a part of the process they originally meant to capture. In other words - the museum made itself part of the present time phenomena it meant to collect. Finally, I pose the question what the consequences of this predicament are? Is the museum fulfilling its role as an impartial knowledge-institution when so apparently taking part in the events later collected? Or, can museums, through new methods of collecting the contemporary, meet a need in today's society for more innovative ways of telling stories and thus co-creating history?

The sum and its parts - exploring differing views on folklore in the early 20th century

Author: Lene Vinther Andersen (Royal Danish Library) email
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Short abstract

The aim of the Danish Folklore Society was partly to record folklore for the Danish Folklore Archives in cooperation with the members and partly to publish folklore. This paper argue that the work on publishing and the work of collecting folklore reflect conflicting views on how to conduct folklore.

Long abstract

This paper focuses on participatory practices initiated by the Danish Folklore Society (Foreningen Danmarks Folkeminder). In the beginning of the 20th century, scholars at the Danish Folklore Society together with the archivists at the Danish Folklore Archives made an effort to engage the public in collecting folklore for the archives. They pointed out which subjects they valued, prepared relevant questions, and handed out preprinted inquiry forms in order to obtain standardized data for the archives. Ideally the aim was to collect, cleanse, segregate and file folklore material in the archives, and eventually return it to the people in printed series of ballads, folktales, legends, and other genres that roughly corresponded to the main categories of the archives.

At the same time, the Danish Folklore Society published some books that presented folkloric and ethnographic material in a different way compared to what had previously been seen. They did not focus on a single folklore genre but made connections between different elements of culture. People's everyday life and work, farms and garden, festivals, and oral traditions was described from an insider's point of view, as they were written by peasants who originated in the specific locality that they portrayed.

This paper will examine how the Danish Folklore Society tried to achieve the aims of collecting and publishing folklore, how the scholars tried to engage so-called ordinary people in both collecting and writing about folklore, and finally which differing views on folklore that emerged in these processes.

Fieldwork diaries as valuable source of research

Author: Anu Korb (Estonian Literary Museum) email
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Short abstract

The requirement to keep a fieldwork diary was imposed since the establishing of the Estonian Folklore Archives (in 1927). First-hand observations turn the fieldwork diaries into an unique source. The diaries highlight changes that have occurred the archives in the course of time.

Long abstract

The requirement to keep a fieldwork diary was imposed on those collectors who used to collect folklore as part of their job but also the stipendiaries and students since the establishing of the Estonian Folklore Archives (in 1927) until today.

While folklore texts are used to convey collective rather than personal experience, fieldwork diaries emphasise the personal over the collective and narrate about the present rather than the past. First-hand observations turn the diaries into a particularly valuable and unique source as they contain information that is less often found in other materials. At the same time, collectors do not represent only themselves during collecting but also the institution under which the fieldwork is carried out. Whether folklore collectors know about their diaries becoming later available to the archive's users inevitably influences what is being written down.

Of course, the notes of collectors also differ in time. The notes written in the Soviet period are often generalising and rather lack emotion. The fieldwork diaries of this time do not go into much detail about the circumstances or informants, and are rather limited to laconic observations. Describing one's thoughts and feelings was not common, and the collector chose the position of a passive observer. Nowadays the importance of individual recollections in archives and studies increasing.

The diaries shed light on the customs and traditions of ordinary people, their everyday life, highlight changes that have occurred the archives in the course of time, etc.

'All material is available' - the contribution of Mary Kaasik and Gustav Kallasto

Author: Ave Goršič (Estonian Literary Museum) email
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Short abstract

In my paper I examine the relationships and unarchived correspondence of respondents Mary Kaasik and Gustav Kallasto with the folklore archive of the Fr. R. Kreutzwalds National Literary Museum in Tartu, Estonia, during the Soviet era.

Long abstract

Continuing my presentation from the 34th Nordic Ethnology and Folklore Conference in Uppsala, June 2018, I take up a case study on the 'archival left-overs' I examined then in more general view. The History of Estonian Folkloristics Materials in the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum entails boxes of Soviet era correspondence between the respondents and the folklore archive. When in Uppsala I concentrated on the general nature of these letters and their value for today's researchers, I hereby examine the contents of 'left-over' correspondence of particular respondents - a fruitful tandem of Mary Kaasik and Gustav Kallasto from Kiviõli, North-Eastern Estonia. The first took up the writing task, the latter photographing. I will look how the unarchived letters open another view into the relationship of respondents with their collecting work and the archive. A quote from one of Mary Kaasik's first unarchived letters offers the best prologue: 'All material is available, this takes time'.

The toil of a diligent schoolteacher. On collecting of folklore by Friedrich Eichenbaum (Priidu Tammepuu)

Author: Liina Saarlo (Estonian Literary Museum) email
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Short abstract

Priidu Tammepuu (1896-1976) was an Estonian village schoolmaster. He started to collect child-lore in the 1930s, later interviewed local storytellers and singers. The paper concentrates on Tammepuu's career as a folklore collector, and relations revealed in correspondence with archival institutions.

Long abstract

Enlightening calls to collect folklore by the leaders of Estonian national movement at the end of the 19th century bore fruit, both sweet and bitter, even a century later.

Priidu Tammepuu (Friedrich Eichenbaum, 1896-1976) was a village schoolmaster at a small school in Sadala, Laius-Tähkvere commune. Inspired by the call by Walter Anderson, professor of folklore at the Tartu University, to collect child-lore at schools all over Estonia, Tammepuu started his collection work with the help of his pupils in the 1930s. Later he interviewed local storytellers and singers, visiting them several times, trying to document one's repertoire 'exhaustively'.

From 1932 to 1969, Estonian Folklore Archives got 20 of his contributions, with content comprising various subjects from child´-lore to local legends and obscene men's songs in large quantity. Tammepuu was a co-worker for several institutions, e.g. the dialectical corpus of the Mother Tongue Society; the ethnographic department of the Estonian National Museum; the Theatre and Music Museum; the Society for Nature Conservation etc.

Although Tammepuu's personal archives (partially) perished during the war, 62 folders from his archives reached the Estonian Folklore Archives. These folders contain original manuscripts and rewritings, correspondence with archivists, several versions of his biography etc. These personal archives are nightmare for any folklorist or archivist, because these materials break off the authenticity and provenience system of Tammepuu's contributions to the archives.

The paper concentrates on Tammepuu's variating career as folklore collector, transforming content of his contributions, and relations revealed in correspondence with archival institutions.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.