TOI – N – LA
Dr. Michelle Caswell
Executive Director Gabriel Solis
Dr. Thuy Vo Dang
Recorded April 19, 2023
TOI traveled to Los Angeles to conduct two-series of podcasts. The first series features faculty and projects connected to UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, focusing on collective memory and community archiving.
Part one of this series TOI connects with Dr Michelle Caswell who is a professor within IS and the Principal Investigator for the UCLA Community Archives Lab; a space dedicated to liberatory archive work through envisioning a society in which traces of the past are used to acknowledge, disrupt, end and repair historic and ongoing harm. The UCLA Community Archives often collaborates with- and supports independent community archives.
One of the independent community archives they work with is Texas After Violence Project; an organization that documents the voices, experiences, and perspectives of people directly impacted by violence in Texas. Gabriel Solís is the Executive Director of the Texas After Violence Project. Gabriel joins Michelle Caswell to discuss the path that led to their work, the significance of community archiving as well as the collaborative project between the UCLA Community Archive Lab and the Texas After Violence Project.
In part two of this first TOI-N-LA series we connect with UCLA Department of Information Studies Assistant Professor and oral historian, Thuy Vo Dang, who also Co-Directors the UCLA Community Archives Lab. Thuy is a former Curator for the University of California, Irvine’s Southeast Asian Archive as well as being the inaugural director of Viet Stories: Vietnamese American Oral History Project.
Dr Vo Dang’s work centers voices on the margins of history. TOI connected with Thuy in her office on UCLA’s campus. This interview provides quite an in depth level of critical cultural insights connected to collective memory and archival discourse, such as silencing of community voices, in particular the voice of refugee community members. Before concluding, the professor puts in perspective insider-outsider dynamics regarding oral histories, aspects of collective memory connected to power, empowerment, and politics as well as how she establishes community trust for cultural memory projects through vulnerability.