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How we remember

Design With
How we remember
By Design With • Issue #29 • View online
Oh, hello again! I’ve missed you since June’s issue. I’m sure you’ve welcomed any sort of pause in your inbox, though.

While I’m on a break from work, I open my computer a lot less – usually to do something mundane or overly meticulous, like, make a list, update a spreadsheet or organise photographs in my drive.
One of my lists tallies how many days of the month that I’ve surfed. A kindred spreadsheet includes all the books I’ve read since 2017. And photographs in my Google Drive are organised by month.
I’ve been drawn to this level of chronicling since I was young. I enjoy knowing that someday I can go back and relive a moment – finding a relevant playlist, photograph and my favourite book at that point in time.
After recently finishing Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House, where she chronicles her and her families’ histories and experiences of living in New Orleans East, I started to reflect on this act of archiving.
Broom finds her experience, and that of her neighbourhood, unmentioned in New Orleans’ history books and news stories – an otherwise widely studied, celebrated and documented city. She writes to understand, to call out, to remember, and to archive.
And while The Yellow House is Broom’s own account, she weaves in her mother’s, siblings’, aunt’s and uncle’s words, too.
Archivist and activist, Allison Boucher Krebs, said:
“An archive needs to be a yarning, a conversation, with all the tacit protocols involved in a conversation between people, the respect in engagement that allows a conversation to continue over time, to be returned to, to grow and deepen, within a shared creative space. Yarning implicitly acknowledges the various contributors, embraces their contributions. It is by nature co-creative.”
Archives tell stories. While some might tell the (monotonous) story of how many surfs I’ve had this month – told from a singular perspective, mine alone – others may weave together identities, accounts and understandings.
I’ve stumbled upon various ‘community archives’ or ‘community memory archives,’ in my quest to understand my chronicles.
And, in their focus on engaging individuals in a collective act of storytelling, it feels there may be something we, as people who design, may learn from them.
Takachizu
"An archive need to be a yarning, a conversation, with all the tacit protocols involved in a conversation between people [...] It is by nature co-creative." Allison Boucher Krebs
"An archive need to be a yarning, a conversation, with all the tacit protocols involved in a conversation between people [...] It is by nature co-creative." Allison Boucher Krebs
Thanks
Thanks for reading, this one was fun to write and research.
If you’d like to guest (or pair) write an issue of Design With, let me know. Or, if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, do reach out!
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