gRescuing Refugee Archives: Preserving the History of the ...

By Paul V. Dudman Archivist University of East London To investigate the role of Archives in preserving the history of the nation-state and to consider the notion that the voices of refugees are often marginalised or left unheard with the Archive, or even deliberately overlooked in favour of the dominant narratives of the nation. This paper will also briefly consider the approaches being undertaken to collect and preserve the history of the refugee experience. #refugeevoices Session Three: Panel Twelve

2 Why collect Refugee Archives? The collection of records relating to refugees is important as refugees are an underdocumented and under-represented group in archival collections. Why have historians ignored most refugee movements and `silenced those involved? Can refugees be re-installed on the historical record. (Marfleet, 2007, p. 136). Refugee Archive collections are important for expanding our perceptions of history, culture and memory. #refugeevoices Twelve

Session Three: Panel 3 Archives and the Nation State: The history of migration to and from the British Isles is as old as the islands themselves. However, the common understanding of this history as passed down by the education system as well as by museums, archives and heritage sites, has often glossed over or ignored this crucial aspect of our island story.

(Stevens, 2009, p. 5) #refugeevoices Session Three: Panel Twelve 4 Approaches to Archiving Refugee Voices Failure of History to Engage with Refugee Communities Contribution

of Archives to memory and identity formation #refugeevoices Session Three: Panel Twelve 5 Archives as records wield power over the shape and direction of historical scholarship, collective memory, and national identity, over how we know ourselves as individuals, groups, and societies. And ultimately, in the pursuit of their professional responsibilities, archivists as keepers of archives wield power over those very records central to memory and identity formation through active management of records

before they come to archives, their appraisal and selection as archives, and afterwards their constantly evolving description, preservation, and use. (Schwartz & Cook, 2002, p. 2). #SAA12 Session Number: 509 6 History of the Refugee Council Founded in 1951 as the British Council for

Aid to Refugees (BCAR) and the Standing Conference on Refugees, (SCOR). Merged in 1981 to create the British Refugee Council. Largest charity in the UK dealing specifically with refugees and asylum seekers. Link: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/ Failed to #refugeevoices keep the refugee archive! Session Three: Panel Twelve 7 Reflections

on the History of the Refugee Council come to be located at the University of East London #refugeevoices Panel Twelve Session Three: 8 What does the Refugee Council Archive at UEL offer? Archive of the Refugee Council as an Organisation - including correspondence, minutes of meetings, and related materials. Thematic special collection of published books and

journals, reports and grey literature incorporating working papers, conference papers, leaflets, newsletters, case studies, field reports, statistical data, press cuttings, and audio-visual. Updated as best we can. Can we listen to the `Refugee Voices within this Archive? #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 9 Potential Barriers and Threats to the continued preservation and collection of Refugee Archives: Archives in an Age of Austerity:

Limited Staffing Inconvenient Opening Hours Funding Issues Ongoing Archival Backlogs and New Deposits Lack of an Outreach Policy and Difficulties of Marketing a Collection with Limited displayfriendly materials Digitisation and the Question of Maintaining Digital Collections? The Refugees Own Perceptions #refugeevoices Session Three: Panel Twelve 10 A reflection on the 76th Society of American

Archivists Conference in San Diego. Contributed to a Panel on refugee archives entitled, Beyond Resettlement: Overcoming Hurdles to Document the Experiences and Contributions of Refugees. Positive Examples of How Archives and Institutions can Engage with Refugee Communities to Preserve their Archival heritage. #refugeevoices Session Three: Panel Twelve 11 Opportunities: Greater Awareness Refugee Week 2013 on

Refugee History Projects Undertaken by Archival Institutions The National Archives London Metropolitan Archives Community Archives Online Databases Launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Archives #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 12

LMA Collections Policy: Aim to collect `Records of ethnic and other minority communities which reflect the diversity of modern London, including collections from the Afro-Caribbean, Asian and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities. (LMA: 2012). LMA dedicated webpage on collections relating to Migration, settlement and activities of new c ommunities and a number of collection guides. The London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) Events on Refugee Archives and History #refugeevoices Panel Twelve

Session Three: 13 Development of Community Archives within the UK. The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) founded in 2006 with a remit to provide a central resource for community archive projects. CAHG see Black, Minority and Ethnic Communities as being an important strand in the collection of community archives. Types of successful community projects

in this field include: #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 14 Examples of community archives on minority issues include: The Belfast Indian Community Archive The Birmingham Black Oral History Project Chinese Lives: the Chinese in Newham (part of the Eastside Community Heritage East London Peoples Archive). Cypriot Diaspora Project

Desh Videsh: Home and Away A History of the Asian Community #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 15 Launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Archives www.voluntarysectorarchives.org.uk/ DANGO www.dango.bham.ac.uk/qsearch.asp #refugeevoices

Twelve Session Three: Panel 16 A new archival praxis? #SAA12 Session Number: 509 17 Further details on the Archive collections can be found here: UEL Archives www.uel.ac.uk/lls/search/resources/archives/

Refugee Council Archive refugeearchives.wordpress.com Twitter: @refugee_archive / @ArchivesUEL / @PaulDudman Content level descriptions for all of our collections can also be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25. #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 18 I would be happy to respond to any questions in regard to both this presentation and our archival

collections more generally. My contact details are: Paul V Dudman Email: [email protected] Telephone: +44(0)20 8223 7676 University of East London, Library & Learning Services, Docklands Campus, 4University Way, London, E16 2RD #refugeevoices Twelve Session Three: Panel 19

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