open up the archives aims to be open, accessible, and promoting of a research ethics based on inter-relationality and collectivity. The mission of open up the archives is to explore the relationship between lived realities, cultural/archival/material production, and the mobilizing powers of openness as a social praxis. By this, openness refers to everything from: open knowledge, open education, open data, open Internet, open records, etc. These applications of openness offer the potentials for transformative effects on social, political and economic life. There is no monetary cost associated with the archives, and anyone can participate in these processes of making, shaping and utilizing its contents, under a creative commons practice. 

With openness, comes the potential and power of refusal. open up the archives utilizes openness as a means to navigate the controlled narratives and biases of recognized archival collections and institutions, most especially those operated through the government of canada. However, the project is invested in avoiding the colonial attitude that everything should be comprehensible, packageable, and consumable – especially in the case of the open up the archives’ holdings, which are undoubtedly, deeply personal and potentially vulnerable. To this end, open up the archives embraces acts of refusal of complete engagement: “to speak with one’s own in one’s own way; to refuse translation and full explanations,” as David Garneau has theorized as primary sites of resistance. As such, some ephemera, stories, and archival contents may exist within the open up the archives in their own right, without context or explanation.

This project takes the form of story gathering and archival research that uncovers and communicates narratives that are left out of predominant discourses as found within mainstream institutions and archival holdings. open up the archives’ thematic focus is on rotation based on the current demands of its surrounding community, currently based in Katarokwi/Kingston, Ontario.

Users of this digital realm are invited to contribute to open up the archives via blog post, audio upload, image sharing, etc.

open up the archives encourages critical as well as creative engagements with our own histories and current realities. Interested in proposing an upcoming project or program? We welcome you to get involved and get in touch

This project is generously supported by the Marty Memorial Scholarship 2017-2018 as part of the research project: “Alternative Archives: Kingston’s Carceral Histories and Contemporary Realities.”