The Social Movement Archive
Authors: Jen Hoyer and Nora Almeida
Expected: September 2020
The Social Movement Archive tells the story of cultural production across social movements as it relates to the work of archives and the communities that archives serve. Through interviews with activists, media makers, collectors, and researchers, we look at how social justice work is understood and represented through the lens of material culture and consider how activists across geography and time use similar messages and media to provoke social change. Using our perspective as informational professionals and volunteers at Interference Archive, a community archive of social movement ephemera in Brooklyn NY, we consider what the work of archiving ongoing social movements—from struggles for labor rights and racial justice to anti-capitalist and decolonial actions—looks like. The Social Movement Archive incorporates visual ephemera from Interference Archive’s collection alongside newly created posters, pamphlets, flyers, and more as a strategy to highlight community intersections and celebrate the varied landscape of communication strategies used by activists. While considering how work should be recorded and integrated into archives, we also critically examine the problematic legacy of archival processes that don’t make room for divergent experiences of lived history. Through this book we hope to inspire activists and challenge information professionals to think concretely about how archives can both tell history of grassroots organizing and contribute to ongoing social movement struggles.
Jen Hoyer has been involved as a volunteer at Interference Archive since 2013, working on exhibitions, cataloging, and more. Jen loves working through how archives can help people understand themselves and their place in the world. Her background as an information worker spans public, school and special libraries in Canada, and she currently teaches K-12 students how think critically about the world around them through the lens of the local history archive at Brooklyn Public Library. Her writing on libraries, archives, and the way these institutions intersect with communities has appeared in Reference Services Review, Archival Science, Radical Teacher, and a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, as well as chapters in Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond (Library Juice Press, 2014) and Public Libraries and Resilient Cities (ALA Editions, 2013). She is the Innovations in Practice section editor for Partnership Journal: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research.
Nora Almeida has been volunteering at Interference Archive since 2015 where she helps organize educational programs, Wikipedia edit-a-tions, exhibitions, and more. She is an instruction librarian at the New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where she runs library outreach initiatives and teaches (among other things) special topics courses focused on social justice, New York City, and research as a mode of problem solving. In her writing, she explores libraries, archives, and pedagogy in relation to issues like neoliberalism, community, place, and performativity. Recent publications include: a chapter in The Politics of Theory and the Practice of Critical Librarianship (Library Juice, 2018), edited by Karen P. Nicholson and Maura Seale; and the forthcoming article “The Living Archive in the Anthropocene,” which she co-wrote with Jen Hoyer for a special issue of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies.
Interference Archive is a volunteer run open-stacks archive of social movement ephemera, exhibition venue, and event space in Brooklyn, NY.