Reimagining Archival Arrangement

North Ridge Room

Wednesday July 11, 2012

1:30-300 PM

Led by Dylan Yeats

Imagination is crucial to archival arrangement – the organization, classification, and display of materials. We live in a moment of intense cultural focus on the importance of archives: the ascendency of keyword searches allow users to imagine unmediated and exhaustive data retrieval, and the popularity of the ‘archival turn’ in the humanities encourage scholars to imagine archives that transcend literal collections.  Archival-thinkers and educators are well equipped and positioned to champion and clarify the importance and conceptual utility of archival arrangement as a form of imaginative intellectual work actually rooted in archival practices and principles.

This workshop builds upon the panel series “Discussing the Archive: Ideas, Practices, and Institutions” held at NYU in 2010, which sought to bring humanities scholars interested in theorizing archives into conversation with leading archivists and archival educators. We will survey, discuss, and explore examples of humanities scholarship, critical museology, art, and reference practices that embrace and utilize archival arrangement as an imaginative teaching tool. Then as a group we will share specifics about the arrangement of collections we work with/on and brainstorm ways to highlight and promote the lessons, meaning, and importance of their ‘original order’ and arrangement. Together, we will strive towards articulating the imaginative elements of the field and the intellectual and political stakes of asserting them.

Participants are requested to come to the workshop with a collection and arrangement in mind to discuss with the group.


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