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Unsettled: Redefining Archival Power: An Interview with June Chow

10 Jun 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

The ACA 2022 Annual Conference is approaching fast! The ACA blog, In the Field, is featuring the profiles of a few conference presenters. This post features  June Chow, Master of Archival Studies candidate at the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Information.

Q: What is the title of your conference presentation?

June: Our panel will speak on Lost and Found: Reconsidering Chinese Immigration records at 100 years since the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act. It’s timely to discuss these records created through the discriminatory immigration legislation, and to share work to address the traumas embedded within them.

Q: Can you walk us through your academic and professional path?

June: I’m local to Vancouver; I did my Bachelors at Simon Fraser University and had a first career in major gifts fundraising at UBC. Over my time at UBC Library, I helped steward Dr. Wally Chung and his monumental gift of the Chung Collection benefiting academia and the Chinese Canadian community at large. It brings valuable donor relations and person-centered perspectives to my work and research on community archives.

Q: What does the theme of the ACA 2022 conference, “UnSettled: Redefining Archival Power,” mean to you in terms of overall archival orientations and practice?

June: Working in community archives and challenging how things are normally done, one can feel simultaneously powerful and powerless which is very unsettling. I’m not sure if it’s a symptom of pursuing graduate studies in a pandemic, but there seems to be a certain ‘TBD’ orientation tied to many issues across the archival field. I don’t yet know if it’s a characteristic of the profession, but maybe it should be to ensure adaptability.

Q: Can you tell us about your research approach and perspectives?

June: I study and practice community archives within Chinatown contexts, in complement to existing heritage and activism work. There’s not a lot of scholarship on Chinese Canadian archives, and very few Chinese Canadian archivists, speaking from here in Vancouver. Our panel is a small step towards addressing this gap. It’s a chance to examine the institutional and community roles and responsibilities that are being redefined together in the pursuit of archival access, accountability and equity. Maybe we’ll be able to build a better model for doing this work moving forward.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

June: I’m looking forward to the networking and social events! After attending school in a pandemic, it will be nice to get some face time. 

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