The Record that Dare Not Speak Its Name: Intimate Records in the Archives
It's a quandary most archivists will face at some point in their careers: how best to handle ethical and privacy concerns when arranging and describing highly personal, sexual materials (what we are calling "intimate records") uncovered in an archives. What underlying assumptions inform our perceptions of these typically "taboo" records? How do we employ appropriate language in our descriptions of them? And how do we balance issues of privacy and access when we encounter such sexually intimate materials? While there is no definitive answer as to how archivists should properly manage materials that expose the most private parts of an individual - both literally and figuratively - this workshop will provide a space to explore these topics and hopefully work towards some best practices when it comes to working with intimate records.We will summarize and share some of the historical and archival literature on this topic, but most of all we are interested in creating a discussion space for archivists to talk about the ethical/representation issues inherent in dealing with intimate records. We want this workshop to be an opportunity for archival professionals to consider the unique challenges presented by intimate records and to share some of their own experiences dealing with them.
Faythe Lou (she/her) is a recent graduate from UBC's Master of Archival Studies program. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa. Before becoming an archivist, she worked in museum collections management and public programming. She currently works as a Records Analyst for the City of Richmond.
James Goldie (he/him) is a recent graduate from UBC's Dual Master of Archival Studies and Master's of Library and Information Studies program. In addition to experiences working or volunteering in the archives at UBC's Rare Books and Special Collections, Douglas College, and VIVO MediaArts Centre, he has a background in journalism.
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