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BAME Best Practice Emotional labour Empowered Collaboration Erased Groups LGBTQ+ marginalized Representation

Creating spaces for people like me in Special Collections.

First published in CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Newsletter Issue 111 April 2019.

This article will attempt to solve the lack of inclusivity and diversity in the cultural sector in 1000 words. Just kidding! This article will outline some of the issues surrounding inclusion and diversity in libraries. I will offer some ways to start to create an environment in which underserved groups; BAME, LGBTQIA, Working class, and differently abled, can thrive as staff.  I will include a quick break down of current statistics, discuss my experiences and promote Empowered Collaboration, a toolkit that includes sensitivity and privilege training, which in turn can apply to recruitment and retention methods.

Cultural institutions are homogenous…

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Erased Groups LGBTQ+ Lost Histories marginalized Representation Uncategorized

LGBTQIA Awesomeness from the Archives

This blog post will explore some of the LGBTQIA+ community in the John Rylands Special Collections! 

It has been cross posted from the John Rylands Special Collection Blog post 

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Empowered Collaboration Erased Groups Exhibitions Privilege Representation

The birth of Empowered Collaboration!

Over the last year I have been conducting research into the ways to combat the lack of diversity in heritage institutions. In a series of blog posts I explored practical ways to challenge problematic labellinghighlight erased groups, and improve overall representation in exhibitions.

I found, in all these instances, collaboration with under-represented groups is imperative. Collaboration resulted in fair representation in exhibitions, increased visitor numbers and increased diversity in visitors.(1) When collaborating with under-served groups, heritage spaces must ensure they do this ethically by fully understanding privilege, lived experience and emotional labour.

I call this empowered collaboration.

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BAME Disabled Empowered Collaboration Erased Groups First peoples LGBTQ+ Lost Histories Neurodiverse Privilege Representation Uncategorized Women

Archives and Inclusivity: Unearthing Erased Communities

In the last blog post I discussed the importance of creating racially sensitive archival descriptions. In this blog post I will discuss the importance of tactfully highlighting the histories of erased communities within archives through labelling. The following post will have practical suggestions on how this relabelling can be used to increase representation in exhibitions.

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Allyship BAME Best Practice Erased Groups Exhibitions Labeling marginalized Representation under represented

Archives and Inclusivity: Respectful descriptions of marginalised groups.

Items within special collections can date back hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that within these materials it is possible to find outdated or problematic attitudes and language. I am currently researching potential ways to manage this.