The UCLA Community Archives Lab was founded by Professor Michelle Caswell in 2016 to explore 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. 

In 2021, Professors Thuy Vo Dang and Tonia Sutherland joined the Lab as Co-Directors. 

The Lab’s research has been published in The American Archivist, Archival Science, Archivaria, Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, American Historical Review, Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, Interactions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, The Public Historian, Archives and Manuscripts, and Library Quarterly, as well as in several edited volumes. Publications emerging from the Lab have won:

    • The 2020 Hugh A. Taylor Prize for best paper published in Archivaria (Gracen Brilmyer, Joyce Gabiola, Jimmy Zavala, and Michelle Caswell, “Reciprocal Archival Imaginaries: The Shifting Boundaries of ‘Community’ in Community Archives”) from the Association of Canadian Archivists; and
    • The 2017 Fellows Ernst Posner Award for Best Paper Published in The American Archivist, (Michelle Caswell, Marika Cifor, and Mario H. Ramirez, “‘To Suddenly Discover Yourself Existing’: Uncovering the Affective Impact of Community Archives,”) by the Society of American Archivists.

Since 2016, the Lab has received support from the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and from various sources at UCLA, including: UCLA Transdisciplinary Research Grant, UBC-UCLA Collaborative Research Mobility Grant, a UCLA Institute of American Cultures Research Grant, and a UCLA Center for the Study of Women Research Grant.