Our vision for the next phase of Chronicling Resistance is immense and exciting. Together with the Free Library of Philadelphia, PACSCL wants to transform how our members interpret and share special collections so that we’re lifting up unheard voices and untold stories and reaching audiences historically alienated from special collections.
We’re asking local activists and cultural organizers interested in how historical materials can strengthen and support their community work to take over our reading rooms, then use what they find there and in their communities in the present to co-curate a series of creative exhibitions that tell stories of Philadelphia’s social, political, artistic, religious, and scientific resistance—historically and present-day. And we’re seeking funding so we can pay the activist-curators to do all of this.
We envision local special collections and public libraries as places where research, activism, and exhibits can meet and maybe merge. It’s our hope activists and cultural organizers can find rare books and documents that affirm their work and/or connect it to the past; special collections staff can learn how to be better allies in grassroots struggles; and public libraries can be stronger, even more relevant places of civic engagement for the public.
Over the summer, submitted a grant proposal to fund Phase 2, began a list of possible additional funders to approach, and began a short list of activists and organizers whose work we admire and who might be ideal activist-curators for the project. We also selected a curatorial consultant who will help select the activist-curators and collaborate with them.
As funding decisions roll in, we’ll let you know what’s next via the blog and our newsletter.