The ability for archivists and curators to decide what has enduring value to whom is what makes archives political. How such materials are collected or made accessible are what make archives ethically contentious. What happens, then, when marginalized communities get to create and curate their own archives? ACAM 350 (formerly FIPR 469a) “Asian Canadian Community-Based Media” focuses on both documentary and narrative film production. My research questions as I took this course were the following: How might the films made through ACAM 350 be read as an archive? Why is the experience of building this archive pedagogically important, and how does centering the process of narrative production factor into this? In this essay, I explore how the process of producing materials in a community archive helps students to engage archives more critically. I do this by comparing my own layered autoethnographic narrative and account of the experience with the impacts of other community projects. Using an archival framework, I interpret the growth I’ve experienced in producing a film for ACAM 350 as it relates to how students and academia can grow from community-based projects rooted in collaborative knowledge production.
Read the paper here: Producing the Record