Another world is possible: Digital equity/equality and the role of the archive and the recordkeeper?

By Andrew Flinn

Department of Information Studies, University College London

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17 September 2015


Digital Equality/Equity: the Contribution of the Archive? Public lecture in celebration of 25 years of records continuum research and education at Monash University. In a world awash with information, the role of records and archives looms large in individual and collective lives. Records are championed as agents of transparency and accountability, but they also, often at the same time, control, disempower and oppress, both intentionally and unintentionally. While the technologies of information production appear to have been democratised with the rise of ubiquitous and pervasive information and communication technologies, a growing body of scholarship is questioning the capability of our existing institutionalised recordkeeping and archival frameworks to adequately support the exercise of human and cultural rights, and contribute to social justice and social inclusion agendas. For this lecture in celebration of 25 years of records continuum research and education at Monash, we have invited leading archival scholars Professor Anne Gilliland from UCLA and Dr Andrew Flinn from UCL, to reflect on the challenges recordkeeping and archival professionals, researchers and educators must confront to ensure intergenerational transfer and interactive use of individual and community knowledge, memory and culture in a data saturated world. How do we ensure that recordkeeping and archiving contributes to digital equity and plays an empowering role in people's lives?


Andrew Flinn is a Reader in Archival Studies and Oral History at University College London, where he is the Director of the Archives and Records Management MA programme in the Department of Information Studies. He is the vice chair of the UK Community Archives and Heritage Group, and has been a member of the group’s executive committee since 2005. He is a member of the steering committee of the ICA’s Section on Archival Education and was the chair of the UK and Ireland Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research (FARMER) between 2008 and 2011. His research interests include independent and community-based archival practices, archival activism and social justice, radical public history and DIY / participatory approaches to knowledge production aiming at social change and transformation, the impact of access to information legislation on democratic processes and developing archival education that addresses these and other issues.