Event Title

Community Archiving and Safety Concerns in Documenting Social Activism

Mentor 1

Rachel Buff

Start Date

16-4-2021 2:45 PM

Description

The police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, reignited an ongoing global movement demanding the abolishment of police and the dismantlement of racist systems. In addition, the police misconduct and brutality in Milwaukee ignited local Milwaukee movements calling for police accountability, reform, and abolition. Responding to these movements, the Milwaukee Black Lives Matter digital archive began a collaborative effort on the part of UWM students, faculty at UWM and Marquette University, and community stakeholders to assemble a digital, community-based archive of the BLM movement locally and statewide. While the Milwaukee Black Lives Matter digital archive has documented a pivotal movement in Milwaukee’s fight for racial justice, the development of this project has left us with many questions that highlight the difficulties in conducting public humanities research involving activism, such as: what can we document, what is safe to document, and what are the ethics of documenting ongoing movements? Because the movement relies on social media to transmit information and challenge racist narratives presented by news media, it’s important to consider the ethical and legal implications in collecting digital artifacts from social media. One major concern in doing this is protecting activists’ identities, as collecting and aggregating photos and live streams, in particular, could potentially be used to identify activists. The answers to these questions are vital in understanding how to build ethical community archives.

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Apr 16th, 2:45 PM

Community Archiving and Safety Concerns in Documenting Social Activism

The police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, reignited an ongoing global movement demanding the abolishment of police and the dismantlement of racist systems. In addition, the police misconduct and brutality in Milwaukee ignited local Milwaukee movements calling for police accountability, reform, and abolition. Responding to these movements, the Milwaukee Black Lives Matter digital archive began a collaborative effort on the part of UWM students, faculty at UWM and Marquette University, and community stakeholders to assemble a digital, community-based archive of the BLM movement locally and statewide. While the Milwaukee Black Lives Matter digital archive has documented a pivotal movement in Milwaukee’s fight for racial justice, the development of this project has left us with many questions that highlight the difficulties in conducting public humanities research involving activism, such as: what can we document, what is safe to document, and what are the ethics of documenting ongoing movements? Because the movement relies on social media to transmit information and challenge racist narratives presented by news media, it’s important to consider the ethical and legal implications in collecting digital artifacts from social media. One major concern in doing this is protecting activists’ identities, as collecting and aggregating photos and live streams, in particular, could potentially be used to identify activists. The answers to these questions are vital in understanding how to build ethical community archives.