Libraries at York U, Ryerson partner on workshop to address colonization issues

Life in the University series

York University Libraries and Ryerson University Libraries will jointly host a summit that brings together community members, scholars, and cultural heritage workers for two days of presentations, discussion, and workshops to commit to active steps toward decolonizing the description of cultural heritage materials.

The event “In Our Own Words: Decolonising Description in the Library and Archival Community” takes place June 14 and 15 at York University’s Keele Campus in The Collaboratory, Scott Library.

Systemic issues related to colonization continue to reside in library and archival description. The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, as well as specific calls to action directed at knowledge and heritage institutions released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly outline pathways for addressing the impacts of colonization in and around educational and cultural heritage environments.

The emphasis of this event will be on establishing a community of practice in our region that crosses institutional boundaries and that surfaces and centers local and community expertise. The event will be grounded by Indigenous knowledge principles, with a strong emphasis on reciprocity.

There will be a working summit following a hybrid open conference model with open, participant-led sharing circles, as well as keynote talks given by Indigenous researchers, community members, and cultural heritage workers.

Organizers seek to engage in exploring questions such as: How can we link descriptive practices to social justice work and decolonisation? How do we create and maintain a collaborative community of practice? How does structured data such as Linked Open Data create space? How do we engage in community-led description? How do we meet the needs of and support Indigenous researchers and community members?

Attendees will have opportunities to participate in discussion circles, consider how to integrate Indigenous ways of seeing information into local practice and contribute to a collaboratively developed action plan that will help us move forward. Closer to the summit there will be an opportunity to submit discussion ideas ahead of time.

Questions and comments should be directed to Stacy Allison-Cassin:

Registration costs are $55 and can be done online.