For this week's Fast Five I'm taking you on a quick journey that will be familiar to all of you. Down the internet rabbit hole we go....
This week a few people shared an article with me written by Jarrett Drake, the up-until recently digital archivist at Princeton. I've been reading Jarrett's work for a while now - he's a bit of a leading voice in the radical, archivist as activist scene and he's been really, really pivotal as my thinking has progressed. In his latest piece on Medium...
1. I'm leaving the Archival Profession: It's Better This Year, he outlines plainly and powerfully outlines why he feels he has no choice but to leave his job and the oppressive confines of 'professionalism' to seek the freer, more flexible possibilities of a PhD. Still a firm believer in the trans-formative power of grassroots, community archival work, Jarrett's belief is that truly socially meaningful archival work is irreconcilable with current institutional practice:
"So I’m leaving to do the liberatory memory work that drew me to archives in the first place because I cannot co-create the transformation in which we are desperate need within the archival profession. Let me reword that: the archival profession will not allow for this sort of transformation. No profession will. Professions are the problem."
Jarrett's piece then led me to Sam Winn's...
2. The Hubris of Neutrality in Archives in which she discusses the absurdity of neutrality in descriptive, cataloging work:
'We should be clear, however, that true neutrality is an impossible aspiration, because we as archivists are individual practitioners called upon to distill the historic record through the inescapable lens of our personal worldviews" and the harmful legacy of "archival neutrality."
Sam's piece was familiar territory for me but it was refreshing to see the discussion of neutrality from a different perspective - that of the cataloger. Interesting stuff which then led me to...
3. Michelle Caswell's Seeing Yourself in History: Community Archives in the Fight Against Symbolic Annihilation in which she asks,
4. I then stumbled across a piece on NPR about Poland's beleaguered WWII Museum. As the Museum's director Pawel Machcewicz has said "This is the museum of a war, but this is not a military museum...This is the museum which tells the story of a war in terms of politics, ideology and civil population." But the Polish Government aren't too happy about what they see as the Museum running counter-narratives to their nationalist agenda,
"Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski has led the charge to merge the museum with a newer one that hasn't even been built yet, something his opponents say is a way for the government to take over the Gdansk museum and change the exhibits. Machcewicz says every invitation he's extended to Glinski to visit the museum has been declined."
Beyond this though, the museological waters are muddied by the political rivalry between Glinski and Donald Tusk - Poland's former Prime Minister, commissioner of the Museum and the current head of the European Union - with the Museum caught in the middle
5. Finally for a bit of light relief - Madeline Chapman's clap back on Alan Duff's bizarre old man rant in the New Zealand Herald (of course) where he bemoaned women who laugh loudly, ambitious women, women who enjoy their jobs, women who aren't attractive, women who smile too much, women who are in broadcasting etc etc. Duff's piece is so ridiculous it isn't even offensive and actually I'm quite glad for it because then I get to read pieces written by funny women like Madeline:
"I think what Alan Duff is trying to say here, and throughout this scarcely comprehensible column, is that being quiet always speaks volumes and modesty really is a virtue UNLESS YOU’RE A BLOKE AT THE RUGBY OR A BLOKE WITH A FIRM HANDSHAKE OR A BLOKE WRITING A COLUMN ABOUT HOW WOMEN SHOULD BE QUIET."
And so. The song I've chosen to send you into the weekend is inspired by this morning's misty walk through the domain:
And the floaty, kind of sheer black Stevie Nicks vibe dress I'm wearing today. Mix it all together and you get: