(Re)Active Public History Twitter Mini-Con

Mini-con poster

The NCPH (Re)Active Public History mini-con schedule is now live!  There are some fantastic presentations planned including two great keynotes.  The Thursday October 18th keynote by LaTanya Autry is titled “Beyond Conversations: Transforming Museums through Social Justice Action” and the Friday October 19th keynote “Memory to Action” is by Allison Tucker from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

In addition to the two keynotes there are session from 12:30-7:30 PM on both Thursday October 18th and Friday October 19th.  The theme for the conference is “(Re)Active Public History” and is rooted in a desire to critically discuss the active ways that public historians engage with the public, the past, and historical scholarship. I’m really excited about all of the presentations on the schedule and look forward to participating both days.

Interested in learning more about how you can join the #NCPHactive twitter conference? Check out the tips NCPH has compiled for participants.

Historical Reminiscents EP 36: Embroidery, History, and Resistance

Heart made out of embroidery floss, right side reads Episode 26: Embroidery, History, and Resistance

I recently started learning to embroider.  My main reason for taking up embroidering was wanting to be stitch swear words radical sayings using a traditional feminine craft.  I loved the idea of juxtaposing feminist praxis with a domestic art.  In today’s episode I talk about the history of embroidery and textile arts as a form of protest and activism.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the intersection of history, fiber arts, and activism. Leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
Elizabeth Parker’s Life Story Embroidery Sampler
-Katherine Brooks, “Feminist Embroidery Artist Heather Marie Scholl Explains Why It’s Hard To Be A Woman
-Rozskia Parker, “The Subversive Stitch

Download or listen now.

S is for Signal-boost

Woman speaking into a megaphone

This post was partially inspired by Claire Kreuger’s alphabet blog series on colonialism and reconciliation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about signal-boosting as a form of activism recently.  This has in part come from conversations around what work settlers can engage in following the verdict which found Gerald Stanley not guilty in the shooting death of a twenty-two year old Cree man, Colten Boushie. For folks looking for resources on that particular topic I suggest The Keyboard Warriors Handbook to #JusticeforColten and the Idle No More Discussion Guide: Justice for Colten Boushie. There is a lot more to be done than simply signal-boosting this issue. I would suggest folks think about how they can support communities and engage in meaningful work around this cause.

What is signal-boosting?

I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that the Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for signal-boost: “Share (another person’s post or other online content) with one’s own followers or friends on social media so as to raise awareness of an issue, event, etc.”  Essentially signal-boost is using your place of privileged to amplify the messages and voices of others.  It is often discussed in the context of uplifting the voices of marginalized and emerging scholars, activists, and community folks.  Signal-boosting can be a way to gain public awareness of an issue, garner media attention, or generate community support for a cause. It’s about moving causes from the fringes into the public eye and bringing issues into mainstream conversation.

Why signal-boost?

For me signal-boosting is part of doing the work. It is about being part of communities I care for, supporting those who need it, and leaving space for marginalized folks to speak.  Signal-boosting is also about listening.  It is about bolstering the voices and experiences of oppressed communities and using my privilege as a white able-bodied settler to uplift the work of others. I may not have much of a platform but I do have online communities and personal networks who I can share material with.

Signal-boosting can also be a way you can engage with an issue even if you aren’t physically able to march, protest, or attend rallies. It is a way folks can help with a cause they care about even if they are not physically or mentally able to handle front lines activism. For more on the topic of supporting a cause while facing illness I recommend folks read “How To Help The Cause When You Need Help Yourself” by Carrie Cutforth. I love her argument that, “If the only thing you can do is retweet when you are too unwell to do otherwise, you have taken part.”  Sometimes activism means prioritizing your own well-being and doing what you can.  Signal-boosting is important and meaningful work and taking it up as a call is worthwhile.

Pitch to the Platform

Knowing your platform is an important part of signal-boosting.  For example, there is a good chance your audiences between Facebook and Twitter vary greatly.  Personally, my Facebook tends to be a space for family and friends whereas my Twitter account is more professional and far reaching.  Additionally, each site has its own algorithm and understanding what works best on each platform is important.  Photo heavy, personal stories do better on Facebook. Whereas text only posts can still have a wide reach on Twitter if they are linked to the right group of folks.  Learning about hashtags, joining groups of like minded folks online, and reading up on outreach trends can all help you signal-boost.

Do you signal-boost? Do you have advice to folks engaging in signal-boosting as activism for the first time?

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Wikithon Roundtable Recording

As I mentioned earlier, I am very happy to be co-hosting the “Weikipedia As Outreach And Activism For Canadian History” with Jessica Knapp of Canada’s History Society. Last week we ran our first webinar which featured Jade Pichette, Skylee-Storm Hogan, and Ezra Winton discussing their experiences editing Wikipedia, hosting edit-a-thons, and sharing advice for those wanting to host or participate in future edit-a-thons. A recording of the webinar is available below.

Our next webinar is Wednesday July 19, 2017 at 2pm ET and will feature Amy Marshall Furness, the Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head, Library & Archives at the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario.  Amy will be discussing her involvement with the Art+Feminism editing community and how to use Wikipedia for outreach and activism in a GLAM setting.  Interested in joining us? You can register at: http://www.canadashistory.ca/Explore/Webinars/Wikipedia-as-Outreach-and-Activism-for-Canadian-History-Webinar-Series


Archives As Activism: The Case of Residential Schools

Photo From: Talking Radical Radio: Archives As Activism

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? 

Archives As Activism

My latest post on “Archives As Activism” can be seen over on Active History. The post explores the connection of archives, activism, and community.

It discusses the idea that archives can disrupt social norms by collecting and archiving the work of those outside of mainstream society.  The piece also dives into examples of Canadian archives who have made an effort to collect material relating to activist movements.

Occupy Vancover signs.
Occupy Vancouver signs, 2011. Public Domain image.

Auction for Action

Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) is currently holding an Auction For Action.  The Auction started on February 15th and runs until March 6th.  This year WWOS is partnering with Awasis: A Sacred Journey, Butterflies in Spirit, and Got Bannock.  All the proceeds from the auction will be shared between these four community based initiatives.

The Auction is facilitated through a facebook page set up by WWOS. The 21 day auction is open to anyone on facebook, both to bid and to provide donations.  To donate an item to the auction donors simply upload a good quality photograph of the donated item, a short description, and shipping details.  Bidders can big directly on the item using the facebook comment function.  The community based nature of the fundraiser reflects the grassroots nature of all the projects involved.  A large number of the items already donated are handmade, indigenous made, and beautiful works of art.  Well worth a look for anyone interested in supporting these great causes.

More information about each of the organizations this fundraising supports can be found below:

Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) is a memorial that honours the lives of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. WWOS is touring until 2019 at 32 locations across North America.The exhibit incorporates the act of ceremony and honouring with the work of approx.1400 artists who created 1808 pairs of moccasin tops. Operated entirely by volunteers, with none of the organizers getting paid, this project has not applied for nor received a government grant for the materials, shipping costs or any other costs associated with it.

Awasis: A Sacred Journey. Donna Gamble is walking across Canada for “my sisters who’ve left and those who continue to struggle. I also pray for our babies and the brothers. As a mother grandmother & Chapan (great grandmother), I walk in prayer for missing and murdered sisters and for the health of our communities and children. ‘Awasis’ is a child. Donna began her journey when Tina Fontaine (15) was murdered in Winnipeg. She completed the first half of her walk in the fall of 2014 from BC to Sask. She continues her walk this spring from Sask to Ottawa. Proceeds from this auction will go to support her completing her journey.

Butterflies in Spirit is a Vancouver dance troupe raising awareness of violence against Aboriginal women and girls, including those who have gone missing or have been murdered. To commemorate them, their images are worn on t-shirts in performance, as the dancers pay respect to their lives. They have performed at more than 10 events across Canada.Got Bannock is a grassroots initiative by Althea Guiboche to feed the hungry, the homeless and less fortunate on the cold streets of Winnipeg Her motto is “in honour of the village we once had”. Althea is a stay-at-home single parent who encourages a more selfless life that caters to Mother Earth and her children. She states “The traditional village my people once had was based on respect, honour and love. We were self-governed and every member of the tribe was a contributor towards survival of the village…our wealth was measured less in what we had than in what we shared with one another.” Proceeds from this auction will go to Got Bannock to be able to continue the good work it does.