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    17a Chronicling Pandemic Activism in Australia

    Presentation Description

    Chronicling Pandemic Activism in Australia reflects on approaches to documenting activism during the Covid-19 pandemic. With one eye on the US-based Documenting the Now project’s development of archival tools to collect media content of activists and social movements, the authors gauge the potential application of these methods in an Australian setting. We examine collecting activities during the pandemic, discussing those groups largely excluded from the dominant discourse because of their economic insecurity, educational position, class status, ethnicity or cultural status, perceived physical or mental disability, or involvement in healthcare or primary care positions. - This project focuses on the efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists and international student campaigners to chronicle their experiences of the pandemic, from engaging in #AboriginalLIvesMatter protests, to finding avenues of support as international students in the absence of government assistance. - Archival systems and the research programs which draw on these records frequently privilege those in power while failing to adequately engage with marginalised groups. In addressing this, the authors explore a participatory model in which these groups actively direct and participate in record-keeping activities. - Developing this framework requires a consideration of the ethics of archival practice. It involves acknowledging that some responses may be lost to the historical record, with groups being occupied with more pressing needs around community survival. And it includes examining issues around the control of materials as well as concerns around privacy and the use of these records for ongoing research. Through this paper, the two authors reflect on their positionality as non-Indigenous, university-trained archivists and historians, and question their role in collaborating on collecting and research-related activities. 

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