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Short Paper Session

July 14, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm UTC+0

This Short Paper Sessions consists of two papers:

  • Henria AtonChrista SatoWendy Duff: Trauma-informed approaches to information: Reflections on co-teaching an innovative 6-week master’s level workshop
  • Johnathan Thayer: Oral History and Rhizomatic Documentation of Cultural Heritage


Trauma-informed approaches to information: Reflections on co-teaching an innovative 6-week master’s level workshop

In 2020, we began a three-year, SSHRC-funded interdisciplinary project between the Faculties of Information and Social Work at the University of Toronto (PIs: Wendy Duff and Cheryl Regehr). Our research seeks to better understand how archivists are impacted by their work and how institutions support or fail to support their archival workers. The wider research objectives are to develop a theoretical model about archives, emotions, and trauma that is unique to archivists; to create open-access tools and educational materials; and to develop a training workshop for archival students and professionals.

During phase one of our study, interviews were conducted between June and November 2021. A recurring theme shared among participants was having limited education and training during their studies that prepared them to deal with emotions and trauma in the archives. In response to this identified gap and as part of the project’s objectives to develop a training workshop for archival students and professionals, an innovative 6-week workshop was developed and offered to Masters of Information students at the University of Toronto.

Drawing from expertise in social work and archives, the purpose of the workshop was for students to develop and apply trauma-informed approaches adapted for their respective professional contexts, and to learn about and practice methods for coping with potentially traumatic situations in the workplace. Through critical reflection and experiential activities including case scenarios, students developed knowledge and skills necessary to recognize and address direct and indirect trauma, and learn concrete strategies to manage the impacts of trauma both for themselves and those they interact with in a professional workplace setting.

In our presentation for AERI 2022, we will discuss our process of developing the workshop, share student feedback about the relevance and impact of the workshop, and share our own reflections and key lessons learned as co-instructions.

Presenter Bio

Henria Aton, Information, University of Toronto

Christa Sato, Social Work, University of Toronto

Wendy Duff, Dean and Professor, Information, University of Toronto


Oral History and Rhizomatic Documentation of Cultural Heritage

In Spring 2016 and Fall 2020, Queens Memory collaborated with Dr. Johnathan Thayer’s graduate Public History classes at Queens College on their work to document and preserve the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, a local history site that has been the focus of a great deal of community activism. The Burial Ground was originally used for African-American, Native American and “pauper” burials, but in the 1930s was paved over and turned into a NYC park called Martin’s Field, featuring a children’s playground. A group of local residents (the OTFBG Conservancy), including some descendants of those buried at the site, have fought a long battle with the city to get the land recognized as a cemetery, and have finally won some progress in recent years.

Students researched the site’s history, created multimedia public history projects and conducted oral history interviews with Conservancy members as well as others connected with the site. Drawing on Wendy M. Duff and Jessica Haskell’s work on a “rhizomatic approach to archival access” as well as Kristin Anne Lingdren, Amanda Cachia, and Kelly C. George’s “growing rhizomatically” approach to creative accommodation in galleries, this paper proposes a model in which oral history serves as anchor for a platform upon which to develop a rhizomatic approach to documenting cultural heritage. Oral history interviews with stakeholders who identify with the site (locality, race, ethnicity) guided our approach to other documentation initiatives, including contextual archival research, digital visualization projects, a documentary film, and a set of lesson plans, among other outcomes.

Presenter Bio

Johnathan Thayer, Assistant Professor, Queens College, The City University of New York

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This session will be recorded and made available on AERI YouTube for the duration of Virtual AERI 2022.


July 14, 2022
4:00 pm - 4:45 pm UTC+0
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