UPDATE:Registration for this webinar is now full (wow! thanks folks!). If you are interested in receiving a copy of the recording you can email Laura Gariepy at lwgariepy[at]vcu[dot]edu and she will make sure you get access to the recording.
On Thursday February 27, 2020 I’m presenting a free webinar on “Trans and Gender Non-conforming Inclusion in Libraries.”
Sponsored by the ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee this session will provide an overview of a diverse range of gender identities and experiences and best practices for working with transgender colleagues, students, and patrons. Through the sharing of examples, this session will challenge participants to create trans affirming spaces while critically examining library policies, languages, and practices.
I recently had the joy of talking with Allison Jones and Karen Ng of the Organizing Ideas Podcast, a fantastic podcast looking at the relationship between organizing information and community organizing.
We talked about public history, archival process, the need for archives to move away from colonial mindsets, and I gushed about embroidery briefly. You can listen to our conversation in “EP 18 – Public History with Krista McCracken.”
Another textile post. I know, I know. But I am finding a lot of joy in thinking about the ways in textiles intersect with history.
I’m working on a project that has me re-purposing old fabrics. This has included working with everything from old shirts to off cuts from sewing projects to found fabric household fabric from the 1980s. As I handle, snip, and sew this fabric I’ve been thinking about the memories it holds both physically and metaphorically.
Fabric holds smells. Fabric can smell musty, it can smell like a home, it can smell like the person who wore it last. These smells are all memories of moments or individuals. I have an afghan blanket that my Grandma made me and after she passed away I struggled with the need to wash it. The blanket still smelt like her, I could wrap it around me and revisit her house and shared experiences. As I washed it the smell faded and so did that visceral memory trigger.
Fabric holds its shape. Long folded fabric gets creases and lines. Folded up linens stuck on a shelf at the back of the closet remember how they were folded and gain lines from long storage. Lines in old fabric can speak to use. Was the fabric folded over something for years? Has it discolored evenly? What can the shape of it tell us about how it has been cared for, used, and stored.
Fabric witnesses. Fabric falls victim to stains and spots and grows threadbare from overuse. That pair of jeans that I don’t want to give up, even though they have holes from bonfires past. Those jeans tells a story, even if I’m the only one who can hear it. That coffee stained quilt that you scrubbed but couldn’t quite clean. It tells a story too. Threadbare woven mats show where people walked, where furniture was placed, and those spots no one ever walked.
Touching, witnessing, and examining textiles connect us to personal, family, and societal histories. Textiles can remember how they are treated and used. They bare signs of their makers and owners. They can bring comfort, tears, and joy. What textile memories do you carry with you?
How does food interest with your understanding of the past? In today’s episode I’m talking about food in the archives, historical recipes, and teaching history through food. I’ll also be talking about some of my favourite historical cookbook quirks.
Active History is organizing a 2020 theme week around material culture. Modeled after the 2019 Museum Theme Week (http://activehistory.ca/museum-theme-week/) this series aims to expand the conversation about material culture and highlight the work of those studying the materiality of the past.
We welcome contributions from academics, public historians, museum professionals, makers, community practitioners, and anyone engaged in thinking about material culture and the past.
Blog posts are welcomed on a range of topics including (but not limited to):
How can object-centred approaches to studying the past change our understanding of history?
What is material culture? How does material culture fit within academic or public history scholarship?
Examples of community-led approaches to material culture research and collecting
Decolonizing approaches material culture
Case study examples of material culture analysis
Active History posts are between 700 and 1500 words, avoid jargon, use hyperlinks over footnotes, and we encourage the use of images to illustrate posts. We also ask that the style of writing is accessible to a wide audience. Draft posts are due by February 24, 2020.
Questions and pitches can be directed to series editor Krista McCracken at firstname.lastname@example.org
New year, new podcast episode. I’m starting 2020 by talking about vicarious trauma in the archives and the impact of working with traumatic records on archival staff. I discuss emotional labour and strategies for coping with vicarious trauma in the archives.
For the last episode of 2019 I’m doing some reflecting, celebrating, and dreaming. I’m talking about some inspirational reads and folks who gave me strength in 2019. I also think a bit about what the upcoming year holds.
In today’s episode I’m focusing on resilience. Resilience can be beautiful. It can be empowering. But it can also be co-opted and used as a systemic tool. Today I’m reflecting on how resilience is often used as a way to encourage productivity and shame those who don’t overcome barriers. Can resilience be a bad thing?
My latest piece, Embroidery as Record and Resistance, can be found over at Contingent Magazine. A huge thank you to the Contingent Magazine team for their work, dedication, and innovation in creating a space for history online. My post looks at embroidery, feminist resistance, and protest.