Digital Blackness in the Archive: A Documenting the Now Symposium

December 11-12, 2017 | #BlackDigArchive

The second Documenting the Now symposium, to be held in conjunction with our advisory board meeting, will address issues at the intersection of archival practice and the existence of Black people on the web and social media. Invited speakers will discuss their work on the Black experience in online spaces including research on joy and creativity expressed by Black people on the web, cultural and social expression, activism and other acts of resistance, the Black experience with state sponsored online surveillance, and racism and bias in algorithm and social media platform design. The program will be an opportunity for the general public, activists, archivists, library and museum professionals, and the academic community, to learn and share together in conversations about digital culture and digital archives that center blackness. Because we too often attempt to find solutions before fully understanding the issues, an intentional goal of the program is to broaden knowledge around the realities faced by Black people participating in online spaces, in hopes that this new knowledge will impact how archivists and other cultural documenters do their work around appraisal, collection, access, preservation, and use of social media and other web-based content that documents Black lives. Panels and talks from the symposium will be livestreamed on this website.

Ferguson Public Library: Photo from CNN

Monday, December 11 @ Ferguson Public Library

10am - 10:15am (CDT)

Welcome and Introductions

10:15am - 11am

Opening Talk

11:15am - 12:30pm (CDT)

Panel 1: The Ferguson Effect on Local Activism and Community Memory

  • Alexis Templeton
    Co-founder of Millennial Activists United and Student at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Kayla Reed
    @iKaylaReed - Community Organizer with Ferguson Action Council and Leadership Team Member for the Movement for Black Lives
  • Brittany Ferrell
    @bdoulaoblongata - Activist and co-founder of what was known as MAU, now practicing Labor and Delivery Registered Nursing and will soon return to graduate school to pursue a Master in Public Health with a focus in Maternal Fetal Health. An Activist and organizer at heart, Ferrell has a steadfast commitment to fighting for the lives of Black people in the streets and in medical industry where Black folks are often under-cared for and under-represented
  • Aleia Brown
    @CollardStudies - Moderator, Co-Founder of #BlkTwitterstorians and #MuseumsRespondtoFerguson, Public Historian and Program Manager at the Humanities Action Lab
12:30pm - 2pm (CDT)


6pm - 9pm (CDT)

Movie Screening and Panel Discussion

  • Whose Streets? showing at Washington University, Brown Hall Room 100. This event is open to the public and campus community.

Tuesday, December 12 @ Washington University STL

McGinnis Classroom, Bauer Hall, Danforth Campus

9am - 11am

DocNow Application Demo/Discussion (Optional)

11am - 11:15am


11:15am - 12:15pm

Panel 2: Supporting Research: Digital Black Culture Archives for the Humanities and Social Sciences

12:30pm - 1:30pm


1:45pm - 3pm

Panel 3: Digital Blackness in the Archive: Collecting for the Culture

3pm - 3:15pm

Closing Remarks and Thank Yous

If you have questions, or want to learn more about the day please contact Bergis Jules