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“Come Correct or Don’t Come at All:” Building More Equitable Relationships Between Archival Studies Scholars and Community Archives


This collaboratively authored white paper reports on a May 2021 two-day online workshop about the current state of academic research on community archives, its impact on communities represented and served by such organizations, and ways to envision and enact more equitable relationships moving forward. Participants included community-based archivists, advocates for community archives, academic researchers, and students. This white paper reports on key themes that emerged from this two-day workshop, and presents collaboratively-derived principles and protocols for building ethical, more equitable partnerships between academic researchers and community-based archivists in the future. Our findings surface several damaging tendencies in academic research, including: parachuting in, knowledge extraction, financial inequity, and transactional consent. We then identify nine key principles for building mutually beneficial relationships between academic researchers and community archivists: relational consent; mutual benefit; investment; humility; accountability; transparency; equity; reparation; and amplification. We then propose ways academic researchers can enact these principles via protocols for building more equitable research partnerships moving forward.

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