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On doing something new: Upcoming exhibition on "activist archives" in Italy

I'm currently doing something totally new: curating an exhibit on "activist archives" in Italy, that will be held from October 23 through November 11, 2023, at Aoyama Gakuin University's Gender Research Center Gallery featuring “activist archives” in Italy. The title will be "Resisting Oblivion・忘却への抵抗・Resistere all'oblio." The central focus will be archives based in Bologna, where I spent spring 2022. This image is from the photo shoot to create materials for the exhibit, at Cassero, one of the liveliest and most important LGBTQI archives in Europe:

I became interested in “activist archives” or “grassroots archives” as I researched social movements in postwar Japan. As a historian, I was trained to seek out and “use” archives, but visiting and engaging with archives and archivists at smaller archives that attempted to preserve marginalized stories forced me to think about all of the space, time, and labor necessary to preserve and make accessible materials that may not be considered important from the perspective of state and institutional archives. I had long admired the archivists and library workers I had met in places as diverse as Omuta, Japan, and Palermo, Sicily.

Ultimately, this exhibit is a way for me to introduce some of the dynamic “activist archives” in Italy today to a Japanese audience and I hope that stories about the histories preserved in these spaces will inspire more interest in and support for struggling local activist archives.

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