A Civic Engagement Project at the Refugee Council Archive, University of East London.
On behalf of Refugee Council Archive at the University of East London, we would like to introduce to you a new Civic Engagement project that we will be working on between now and the end of July, 2015. As part of this project, we are seeking to further develop and enhance existing and new partnerships with local community groups, NGO’s and archival institutions with an interest in the preservation of the important documentary heritage associated with recording the history of the refugee lived experience.
Our project entitled, “Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion: Civic Engagement through the Preservation and Access to Refugee Archives”, aims to use existing Archives held within the UEL Library as a basis to forge new partnerships with students, academics, archivists and local community groups. The project was awarded internal funding from UEL’s Civic Engagement Fund and is being coordinated by Paul Dudman, the Archivist responsible for the Refugee Council Archives at UEL, and Dr. Rumana Hashem, a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at UEL.
We are looking at ways in which we can engage our existing Refugee Archive collections with our communities beyond just academia and to make the collections both relevant and accessible to both local community groups and the wider NGO and third sector bodies. We hope to achieve this through the collection of oral histories and the creation of both a Living Refugee Archive website and a Refugee Archives and History Group. This was inspired by seeing the work undertaken by the Vietnamese Oral History Project at the University of California, Irvine (http://sites.uci.edu/vaohp/), which assembles, preserves, digitizes and disseminates the life stories of Vietnamese Americans in Southern California.
Further details of the project are available on request, but in essence our project aims are:
a) The creation of Refugee Archives and History Group to help facilitate continued discussions and civic engagement activities, and to help encourage interaction between archivist, historians, NGO’s and the communities themselves as to how the refugee experience can be preserved and documented.
b) To engage with local communities in an attempt to establish a Living Refugee Archive and to promote and enable accessibility and engagement with our existing collections. This will be documented through the collection of oral histories.
c) To pilot a Refugee Living Archive website to incorporate digital content collected as part of our Oral History Project and, if successful, this could lead to a continuation of this project beyond the initial timescale outlined in the bid.
d) To facilitate UEL Student engagement in the project through, for example : (1) The contribution of oral histories and archival materials; (2) To help engage with local communities with Archive-led activities and to help the local community/refugee groups understand how the Archives which UEL holds can be relevant to their own community.
Please do let us know if you would be interested in meeting to discuss this project or should you have any thoughts or feedback which t we could use to enhance the project. Your support and participation would be very much appreciated.
If you are interested in the project and would like to know more, or you would be interested in volunteering, please feel free to contact us for further information. : to the below emails
We will endeavour to provide regular updates on the progress of our project through our website and social media channels. Do please consider following us one on of the following:
Refugee Council Archive on Twitter: @refugee_archive
UEL Archives on Twitter: @ArchivesUEL
Refugee Archive Blog: https://refugeearchives.wordpress.com/