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Working Papers Series: Debbie Ebanks Schlums | Zoom, Nov 7


Join us for another online iteration of the Archive/Counter-Archive Working Papers Series, which brings together PhD students from different universities to hear about exciting doctoral research in the area of archival studies. Our next speaker is Debbie Ebanks Schlums, who is a PhD Candidate in the Cinema and Media Studies program at York University. Debbie's talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, moderated by our student organizers, Emily Barton and Elina Lex.

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Performance Documentation and the Embodied Jamaican Diasporic Archive

The project discussed straddles a conceptual chasm between the materiality of institutionally sanctioned archival records and the more accurate, culturally reflective, community perspective of an embodied archive of the Jamaican Diaspora. Drawing from Carolyn Cooper’s research on Jamaican popular and oral culture, archivist-Scholar Stanley Griffin goes further to claim that Caribbean archives are in the rhythm; in the noise of the people (Griffin, 82). Her project asks: what are the archives in the Jamaican diaspora in Ontario and how are these records preserved? This Working Paper aims to address these ontological questions by attending to the nuanced and different methods of archival practice as defined by Jamaican diaspora community members in Ontario. She will discuss the impacts community has on archival theory and practice regarding the care of this largely Black, diverse diasporic archival collection by discussing the documentation of Heritage Singers Canada performances on VHS and cassette tapes as a case study.

Griffin, Stanley H. “Noises in the archives: Acknowledging the present yet silenced presence in Caribbean archival memory” in Archival Silences: Missing, Lost and, Uncreated Archives. Edited by Michael Moss and David Thomas, Routledge, 2021.

Speaker Info

Debbie Ebanks Schlums is a PhD Candidate, Vanier Scholar and multidisciplinary artist in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Her doctoral research explores methodologies of archiving in the Jamaican Diaspora through storytelling and media installation. Debbie is a Jamaican-Canadian of African and Hakka Chinese descent and is a student researcher with Archive Counter-Archive, the Centre for Research in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University. Debbie has published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities, and co-authored articles and book chapters with the art collective Odeimin Runners in Interactive Film and Media Journal, and Interactive Documentary: Decolonizing Practice-Based Research.