Archive/Contre-archive: Activation de principes de respect dans le développement d’une politique archivistique

Translated title of the contribution: Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Principles of Respect in Archival Policy Development

Claudia Sicondolfo, Raegan Swanson, Debbie Ebanks Schlums, Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, Mary Elizabeth Luka

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Archive/Counter-Archive (A/CA): Activating Canada's Moving Image Heritage is a seven-year research-creation project involving more than 100 collaborating artists, academics, and activists from across the country that reveals how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) come into contact with vulnerable community-driven audiovisual archives, an important part of contemporary cultural heritage. This article examines the power dynamics embedded in A/CA as well as in current ICT infrastructure, legislation, and organizational policy and resources, to address two emergent challenges experienced by the network over a three-year period. The authors ask whether and in what ways A/CA was able to oppose the extractive power dynamics embedded within the current cultural heritage preservation and ICT management systems through operational models and ICT tools that incorporate creative approaches. Locating this project where community-engaged research comes together with the study of digitization and platformization of cultural production and heritage, the authors used autoethnographic and feminist intersectional discourse analyses to examine the tensions and challenges embedded in the communities of practice that took shape over these three years. The first set of findings explores the organizational limits imposed on the network’s participants, including the lack of national and local resources for digitizing and sharing vulnerable and often marginalized media archives. This was addressed in the A/CA context by developing a flexible contracting approach for the digitization and use of the vulnerable media being digitized, as well as through the development of a national Action Plan. The second set of findings demonstrates how creative interventions in community-based partnerships and artist residencies affected the genesis of a Principles of Respect (PoR) Committee and related pragmatic in-the-field efforts to address some of the historically troubled relationships that large, official media archives have had with Indigenous and Black communities. The authors explore the ways in which creative workshops and artist residencies are mobilized within A/CA to help build a more respectful and reciprocal set of relations. Lastly, we examine the broader implications for intellectual property and content management as it is influenced by the current role of ICTs in relation to cultural heritage, suggesting some ways forward.

Translated title of the contributionArchive/Counter-Archive: Activating Principles of Respect in Archival Policy Development
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)153-175
Number of pages23
JournalESSACHESS - Journal for Communication Studies
Issue number1(29)
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • archival policy
  • audiovisual digitization
  • audiovisual heritage
  • community archives
  • community relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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