Archives and Geography: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Calvert Room, Omni, East
Organizers: Laura Crawford, Irene Hardill
Chairs: Janice Monk

Call for Submissions

Please send proposed titles and abstracts (max 250 words), along with name, affiliation and contact details, to; by October 10th 2018.


Archival material in its many forms is widely used to understand social problems across the social sciences, humanities and indeed geography. In this session we focus on human geography’s engagement with the ‘archive as subject’ (as opposed to ‘archive-as-source’) (Ashmore et al. 2012: 82; Mills, 2013), focusing in particular on issues of access, ethics, trust, and Intellectual Property Rights. This session welcomes papers addressing the methodological challenges encountered when conducting archival research (Gagen et al. 2007) and will provide a platform to discuss navigating archival material with care. The session takes inspiration from Moore’s (2010) paper which encourages new directions and reflexive practices in relation to ethical approaches when working on sensitive and/or controversial topics.

Archival material can elevate the voices of ‘others’ and help shape and construct ‘alternative histories’, expanding the parameters of what is known. Yet through this process, the researcher may face a number of ethical dilemmas about how to expand knowledge whilst simultaneously managing these sensitivities. Indeed, the production of knowledge from archival sources often requires collaborative work with archivists and organisational representatives. This session will discuss ways to define relationships in a way which fosters trust and defines the parameters for data use and dissemination. Further still, the session will consider the role of the researcher in advocating for inclusivity through the space of the archive. In summary, we invite papers that explicitly consider the methodological, ethical and practice-based considerations relating to archival research.

We would particularly like to encourage papers on the following themes:

• Creators, producers, and guardians of material
• The politics of the archive and addressing absences
• Co-producing knowledge through archival engagements
• Ethics, positionality and reflexivity
• Negotiating access and establishing trust with key stakeholders/project partners
• Inclusive archival practices- widening access, preserving heritage and cataloguing collections
• Oral histories, archival ‘voices’ and sonic geographies of the archive


Ashmore, P., Craggs, R. and Neate, H. (2012). Working-with: talking and sorting in personal archives, Journal of Historical Geography 38: 81–89.
Gagen, E. A., Lorimer, H. and Vasudevan, A. (2007) (eds) Practising the Archive: Reflections on Methods and Practice in Historical Geography, Historical Geography Research Series, no.40
Mills, S. (2013) Cultural-Historical Geographies of the Archive: Fragments, Objects and Ghosts, Geography Compass 7: 701-713.
Moore, F. P. L. (2010). Tales from the archive: methodological and ethical issues in historical geography research. Area 42: 262–270.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Janice Monk University of Arizona 5 1:10 PM
Presenter Meghan Cope*, University of Vermont, Illegitimate, Feebleminded, and Drunk: Historical geographies of childhood through early 20th C. archives 20 1:15 PM
Presenter Jacob Fairless Nicholson*, King's College London - London, Being humble in the archive: reflections on working in Black community archives in London 20 1:35 PM
Presenter Hannah Martin*, Northumbria University, Intersectionality in the archive: power structures, absences and scale in archival research of BAME seafarers in early twentieth century Britain. 20 1:55 PM
Presenter Irene Hardill*, Northumbria University, UK, Angela Ellis Paine, Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, UK, Rose Lindsey, Southampton University, Georgina Brewis, University College London, UK, Rob Macmillan, CRESR- Center for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, UK, Co -producing Knowledge Through Archival Engagements: Reflections on the UK Discourses of Voluntary Action project 20 2:15 PM
Discussant Laura Crawford Loughborough University 15 2:35 PM

To access contact information login