With Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Libraries entering the second year of this three year research project, we want to recap what the first year’s successes, including the summer cohort program.
For the first year of the project, the research team collaborated with seven different faculty members from the African American, Asian American, and Chicano/Latino Studies departments for a total of nine courses, three for each department. Through these courses, the research team was able to work with over four-hundred undergraduate students, far exceeding the expectations of the research team.
The research team also presented at the 2018 Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting in Yosemite in April and at the 2018 Rare Books and Manuscripts Section conference in New Orleans in June. The presentations for both conferences were well received by the audience. In particular, there was a lot of interest in the methods that UCI’s Special Collections and Archives department developed to establish relationships with community-based organizations as well as work with faculty on campus.
Following the RBMS conference presentation, the first Summer Cohort Program kicked-off on June 26, 2018. Fifteen undergraduate students from the different ethnic studies departments were selected to the program, all of whom were paid for their participation. For the next ten weeks, the students learned about foundational archival concepts and practice, in particular community archives, and acquired hands-on community-based archival experience by pairing up with five local Orange County community organizations to aid in various archival projects.
The summer program culminated with a closing event where students presented their archival projects (you can access the presentation here.) In the audience were the representatives of the community partners who supervised the students as well as staff and administration from UCI Libraries. Throughout the presentations, students reflected on the importance of community archives in providing a platform for historically marginalized communities in mainstream archival institutions to document and create their own historical narratives on their own terms. A major theme that the students identified in their presentations was the process of working with the community partners to gain the trust of community members by not just showing up to work on their archival projects, but by listening to the needs and wants of the community members. This allowed for a reciprocal relationship between the students and the community partners to flourish where an ethic of collaboration was established as opposed to the students dictating the workflow and outcomes of their projects. Many of the students also commented that they would continue to work with their community partners after the summer cohort program ended because they wanted to demonstrate their commitment to the work of community archives. After their presentations, students were presented with certificates recognizing their work and completion of the program.
For more information please contact Jimmy Zavala, Transforming Knowledge/Transforming Libraries Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-8633,