A major challenge of subjugated communities is the question of their archives and processes of archiving. Fragile and under threat, most of their experiences, memories and histories are not featured in narratives of the future.
But these Archives – the fragile, vulnerable ones we are addressing here – are not silent per se. They do have a voice, but one that can be silenced. They do have a voice, but one whose potent airing might not be listened to, as the issue is not whether or not the subaltern is able to speak, but whether or not anybody is listening, to paraphrase Seloua Luste Boulbina. Power plays a role here, as “archival power is, in part, the power to allow voices to be heard”
In the Vulnerable Archives project, Savvy Contemporary collaborate with archives and organizations that engage in strategies of alternative historiography, dissent, self-organization, and participation through practical solidarity. They form alliances to develop tools that strengthen strategies of speaking and spaces of listening. The project understands vulnerability as a method that has the potential to continuously open up new sources of knowledge.