Posted on Thursday August 26, 2021

Updated on Tuesday September 7, 2021

Engaging Communities with Archives: Video as a tool for activism, advocacy, and archival work

How can video be used as a tool to democratise and open up archives or bring about social and cultural transformations? Join the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to find out.

An abstract piece of art showing cupped hands in different colours
Title: Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
7 September 2021


Join the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) on 7 Sept for a collaborative webinar exploring archival initiatives that seek to engage communities with archives, with a focus on projects that train or support community groups in using video to tell personal stories, bring about social change, or preserve activism and advocacy work.

The event will be chaired by Dr Laura Aguiar, Community Engagement Officer & Creative Producer at PRONI. The webinar will highlight the following archival initiatives:

  • Making the Future – a cross-border cultural programme that aims to empower people to use museum collections and archives to explore the past and create a powerful vision for future change. The regional programme is being delivered by a consortium of leading cultural organisations including PRONI, the Nerve Centre, National Museums NI, and Linen Hall Library. PRONI Curator Lynsey Gillespie will speak about this project, focussing particularly on the ‘Every Day is a School Day’ initiative, a series of 10 short films created by a group of participants with varying degrees of sight loss as part of Making the Future’s 100 Shared Stories programme.
  • WITNESS – an organisation that helps human rights defenders use video to expose injustice. Program Manager Yvonne Ng will discuss WITNESS’s work and how they support people to use video as a tool for activism and advocacy.
  • Mapping Memories – a participatory media initiative that offered over a hundred young individuals the opportunity to recount their stories on their own terms. The photos, exhibits, and videos that emerged from this project have been used to build understanding about refugee rights and the diversity of refugee experiences in classrooms, with decision-makers and with the larger public. The project was part of a wider oral history project called LIFE STORIES, that engaged communities in documenting and archiving the life stories of those displaced by war and human rights abuses.


  • Lynsey Gillespie, Archivist at PRONI: Lynsey is an archivist at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and the Curator for the Making the Future project. Lynsey has worked in PRONI for the past eight years across a number of departments, including access to conflict-related information, accessioning and cataloguing of privately deposited collections, and digital preservation. In addition to curating exhibitions and engagement programmes for Making the Future, Lynsey currently leads communications for PRONI, managing website content and social media channels. Lynsey previously worked in visitor experience for Titanic Belfast, for Ulster University’s Art College Library, and for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Illinois. She holds a BA (Hons) in English and Modern History from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies from Ulster University.
  • Yvonne Ng, Archives Program Manager, WITNESS: Yvonne is an audiovisual archivist and manages the archives program at WITNESS, where she trains and supports partners on collecting, managing, and preserving video documentation for human rights evidence and advocacy.
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Miller, Professor in Communication Studies, Concordia University: Liz is a documentary maker and professor interested in new approaches to community collaborations and to documentary making as a way to connect personal stories to larger social concerns. Liz is a full professor in Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. Her films/educational campaigns on timely issues such as climate change, water privatisation, immigration, refugee rights, and the environment have won international awards, been integrated into educational curricula, and influenced decision-makers. She is the co-author of Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice (2017).

For more information, please visit the website. Or register directly here