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Speaking to the broader themes of the seminar series and the renewed interest in digitisation in light of the pandemic, this roundtable brings together different perspectives on the wealth of pre-existing work surrounding digital archives, thinking about the broader importance of digitisation beyond academic research, and the challenges that come with it.

Melodee Beals is a lecturer in Digital History at Loughborough University with expertise in Scottish media history. She is particularly interested in the role of newspapers in public perceptions of demography and migration. She is involved in the Atlas project to map the histories and data of digitised newspaper collections around the world and she maintains the Scissors and Paste database, an online repository of newspaper transcriptions that aims to trace the composition, reprinting, abridgment and paraphrasing of newspaper content as it travelled along periodical networks. She has recently co-authored ‘Of global reach yet of situated contexts: an examination of the implicit and explicit selection criteria that shape digital archives of historical newspapers’.

Daniela Agostinho is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen, currently working on the project ‘Archival Encounters: Ethics of Care, Curatorial Practice and Postcolonial Digital Archives’. Her main areas of interest and research are cultural theory, visual culture, feminist, postcolonial and decolonial studies, moving image studies and digital culture, and she is also an independent curator. She is affiliated with the Uncertain Archives research collective and has recently published ‘Archival Encounters: Rethinking access and care in digital colonial archives’.

Rustin Zarkar is co-founder and co-editor at Ajam Media Collective, and is involved in Ajam’s project, Mehelle, which seeks to document urban areas across Ajamistan that are at risk of destruction. He is also the Middle East and Islamic Studies Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently completing a PhD at New York University, focused on cultural production and circulation in and around the Caspian Sea.

Alex Miskin Simple is a Project Officer at the Rift Valley Institute. In this capacity, he supports the South Sudan National Archives in the cataloguing and digitisation of their records, as well as organising outreach activities to ensure visibility of the archives through public exhibitions, radio talk shows, school programmes and social media. He is also involved in the training of researchers, academics and civil society activists in oral history research methods in South Sudan, Uganda and Somaliland.

Chaired by Ismay Milford. The initial roundtable will last around 60 minutes, followed by 30 minutes for audience questions. 

Please note that this seminar will begin at 15:00 GMT.

All welcome, this seminar is free to attend but booking is required.

Image Credit: Jennifer O’Donnell, Archive Folders, 2012, watercolour.