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Activating our Archives: Community Dialogues is a group project exploring personal and shared identities through photography, storytelling and digital archiving.

Over a series of workshops led by artist Sunil Shah, the participants shared stories and images, considering the ways in which we present and receive images in the physical and digital space. Building on a successful pilot project in 2019, Activating our Archives: Community Dialogues has a particular emphasis on collective and personal identities, community, and the exchange of images and ideas. This project is run in collaboration with Fusion Arts Oxford. 

The online community of participants actively responded to the challenges of image-making and collective archiving in the current climate. Workshops ran throughout the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, with the group maintaining a creative dialogue through regular Zoom meetings, as documented in the video below.   

Follow the project on Instagram using the hashtag #ActivatingOurArchives. Activating our Archives: Community Dialogues formed part of the exhibition Responsive Space at Modern Art Oxford 2 October 2020 – 3 January 2021.

Follow the development of the project below as the participants shared photographs, reflections and images on our digital archiving platform.

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Activating our Archives Pilot (2019)

The pilot Activating our Archives was a group project led by artist Sunil Shah which used photography and curation to bring together a community of people from across Oxford to build an online archive of images that reflect on and explore their own lives.

The archive can be viewed online on Instagram using the hashtag #ActivatingourArchives. The project began in 2019 and was inspired by Akram Zaatari’s exhibition The Script.

The archive reflects and expresses aspects of our lives that we consider as private, public, individual and collective. It explores how images are used online and how we represent ourselves online through social media.

Using digital technology and analogue methods participants take photographs, select and sort their own and each others’ images, and engage in group discussions.

Follow the 2019 project below on our digital archiving platform Padlet:

This project was supported by an Arts Council England Strategic Touring Grant in 2019.