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The UCLA Community Archives Lab explores the ways that independent, identity-based memory organizations document, shape, and provide access to the histories of minoritized communities, with a particular emphasis on understanding their affective, political, and artistic impact. We do this two main ways: providing paid internships at community archives for UCLA’s MLIS students and conducting research that meets the needs of community archives.
Thanks to the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, UCLA’s Community Archives Lab conducted a three-year (2018-2021) program to provide paid internships to UCLA Information Studies graduate students at community archives throughout Southern California. For more information, visit The UCLA Community Archives Internship Project page. A white paper reporting on the impact of the project is now available. The project has been renewed for 2021-2024 and involves a proposal to scale up the project nationally .
In 2021, the Texas After Violence Project, in partnership with the UCLA Community Archives Lab and the South Asian American Digital Archive, was awarded an IMLS grant to conduct empirical research and develop tools to assess digital technologies’ affective impact on the creation of records documenting minoritized communities. This project addresses many of the emerging needs of community archives, especially the growing recognition of the need to mitigate potential harms for record creators and users, and the growing dependence on digital technologies across the archives, museum, and library and information science fields in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 2016-2019, the Lab’s PI earned an Early Career Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct the “Assessing the Use of Community Archives” project. That project examined the way Asian American, Latinx, and LGBTQ community archives in Southern California counter the absence or mis-portrayal (what feminist communication scholars have termed “symbolic annihilation”) of their communities in mainstream media and archives by providing both avenues for autonomous self-representation and politically generative future-oriented spaces for shaping collective memory. In addition to producing scholarship, the Community Archives Lab created a tangible toolkit for community archives to expand their practice, assess their own impact, and leverage their strengths to attract funding and support.