Archives As Activism: The Case of Residential Schools

I’m on a podcast! Given my obsession with listening to podcasts it might not be surprising that I’m very excited to have been part of a podcast recording.

Recently Scott Neigh of Talking Radical Radio interviewed Skylee-Storm Hogan and I about the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, activism and archives, and more broadly about documenting social movements.  Our conversation was partially inspired by my recent Active History post on “Archives As Activism” which discusses some of the current trends around archiving and documenting social movements in Canada.

You can listen to the full episode online via the Rabble Podcast Network.

Kinda related: I would love to be part of an archives or Canadian history podcast — anyone want to team up to create some awesomeness? 

Listening: Historically Yours Podcast

podcast scrabble tiles

Image by Nick Youngson used under CC BY-SA 3.0

My podcast listening has changed drastically over the past couple of months – mainly because I’m no longer spending two hours a day in the car.  I’ve become a bit more selective in what I listen to and I’ve also changed up when I’m listening.  I’m now spending more time listening to podcasts while at the gym, walking, or doing physical processing while at work.  The fact that I’m occasionally listening while moving archival boxes around or labeling folders makes the Historical Yours podcast all the more perfect.

Historical Yours is a podcast created by the University of Iowa Libraries and Special Collections.  It is hosted by Outreach Librarian Colleen Theisen and each episode features Theisen and a guest who “will read one historic letter, research the context, and discuss the role of letter writing past and present.”  I love concept behind this podcast and it’s focus on a one off letter that has no associated context.  Each podcast is like a mini-historical research research project or scavenger hunt looking to provide context to a lone piece of correspondence.

The podcast is based on a unique collection held by University of Iowa of which is comprised of thousands of single letters.  The letters have zero context about who wrote them, who they were sent to, or who held on to them over the years.  Historically Yours draws attention to this collection but also tries to fill in some of the context that isn’t currently found within the thousands of letters in the collection. It’s a bi-weekly podcast with only a few episodes released so far but I highly recommend having a listen and I look forward to hearing more episodes as they are released.