Haitian Studies Association

Archives and Public Memory in Haiti and the Diaspora

Archives et Mémoire collective en Haïti et dans la diapora Haïtienne

Achiv ak Memwa Kolektif an Ayiti epi nan Dyaspora Ayisyen

Collection of Michele D. Pierre-Louis, Painting by Jonas Profil, 2017

Title : Lè w li, Konesans fè w monte nan syèl. Reading and knowledge rise you (?)

Photo by Yvens Rumbold




Archives and Public Memory in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora

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The Archives and Public Memory working group seeks to serve as a generative, collaborative space that will provide practical resources for archivists, library workers, and cultural heritage workers of all kinds (whether institutionally-based or community-based), academic researchers, policymakers, grassroots organizers, journalists, and others. Our primary goal is to enable people in Haiti and the diaspora to be aware of and access existing archives, and to provide knowledge and resources to preserve, store, and catalogue archival collections.

This Working Group will address the challenges to archival access in Haiti (including language, technological barriers, and social hierarchies), and strategies to overcome those barriers. In addition to the core group of Working Group members, we will open up our sessions to all interested attendees from Haiti and the diaspora.

We anticipate that participants will gain: 1) increased familiarity of existing archival resources and collections and how they can be used in their scholarly, advocacy, artistic, or journalistic work; 2) concrete skills for best practices for digital and physical archiving under challenging or low-resource conditions; 3) connections with other people and institutions working on similar or complementary projects; 4) knowledge of available funding sources and how to apply for them. After working with participants to determine what kinds of tools, training, and support they need, we will collaborate with existing institutions to provide trainings tailored to the needs and realities of institutions in Haiti and in the diaspora.

In addition to possible scholarly publications, the Archives and Public Memory Working Group will produce a trilingual (English, Kreyòl, French) white paper or how-to guide of concrete recommendations and best practices for institutions doing archival preservation and providing access in low-resource settings in general, and in Haiti specifically. We will also compile and maintain a detailed resource list of archives of Haiti (both within Haiti and abroad), which will include topics, contents, format, and contact information. Both the white paper and the resource list will be publicly available.