Literary Archives in Cameroon

A two-day workshop on literary archives in Cameroon was held in Yaoundé on 13–14 February 2018, jointly organised by the Diasporic Literary Archives Network, the ICA Section for Archives of Literature and Art, the National Archives of Cameroon, and ESSTIC (the Advanced School of Mass Communication at the University of Yaoundé). The workshop was attended by authors, publishers, academics, archivists and students of archives studies and of publishing. All those present agreed on the desirability of beginning a programme leading to the development of literary archives collections in the National Archives, reflecting the rich and multi-lingual literary traditions and achievements of Cameroon. Participants also stressed the importance of oral literature and history in Cameroon, as well as the country’s strengths in cinematography.

At the close of the workshop, it was agreed to initiate a pilot project on collecting literary archives in Cameroon, and around 70 of the participants volunteered their time to work on the pilot project – a remarkable affirmation of support for this work. It is hoped that progress on the pilot project will be reported at the Annual Meeting of the International Council on Archives, which this year will be held in Yaoundé – from 26–29 November 2018.

The programme was closely based on the two-day workshop held in Windhoek, Namibia, two years earlier, and could be adapted for use in other countries, perhaps especially in Africa.

Program, Literary Archives Writers’ Workshop, Yaoundé [PDF,  136 KB]

 

The organisation of the two-day workshop at ESSTIC (École Supérieure des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information et de la Communication, Université de Yaoundé-2) benefitted from the support of ICA’s Africa Programme, and from generous financial assistance by ICA’s Programme Commission (PCOM). This support and assistance is gratefully acknowledged. On the work and priorities of PCOM, see the page headed Our Professional Programe on the main ICA website.

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Topics of Artistic and Literary Archives of the Caribbean

Panel 2 ALA-ICA joint Conference, Mexico City, 27 November 2017, 4:30 pm, Topics of Artistic and Literary Archives of the Caribbean: Diasporas, Gender Politics, Hidden Archives, Languages, Large and Small Islands and the Digital Future, presented by the Section for Literary and Artistic Archives (SLA)

Moderator:
Sebastian Gurciullo (Public Record Office Victoria, Australia)

Participants:
Deborah Jenkins (ULP Archival Consultancy, U.K.)
David Sutton (SLA Chair, University of Reading, U.K.)
Heather Dean (University of Victoria, Canada)

Rapporteur:
Catherine Hobbs (Library and Archives Canada)

This conference session provided a multi-faceted view of literary and artistic archives of the Caribbean, their acquisition history and future prospects.

Our first speaker Heather Dean, building on Helena Leonce (Trinidad & Tobago), Cheryl Sylvester (Grenada) and Alison Donnell (U.K.), presented the acquisitions history and pressures for literary archives in the Caribbean during the latter half of the twentieth century.  Dean’s presentation linked the emergence of a rich vein of Caribbean literature to national independence achieved in Caribbean nations from the 1950’s to early 1970’s.  This movement also led to the establishment of national libraries, national archives and universities (particularly University of the West Indies campuses) across the region.  Central to the establishment of special collections was Dr. Kenneth Ramchand who led scholarship of Caribbean archives but also promoted acquisition of Caribbean literary archives in the home countries as institutions were being founded.  Global interest in Caribbean literary figures such as Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul has lead to competitive acquisition abroad, meaning that national repositories in the Caribbean now exist in a competitive cultural context.  Dean’s discussion also touched on the recovery of women’s voices and the interconnectedness between literature and other art forms such as dance and carnival.

Our second speaker Deborah Jenkins presented the archives linked to Black writing and publishing acquired by London repositories over the last three decades.  Jenkins elaborated the roles and collection emphases of the British Library and other active repositories, including The Black Cultural Archives (created in 1981 to address the imbalance in representation of Black people in Britain), the George Padmore Institute (established in 1991 to focus on the Black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and Europe) and London Metropolitan Archives.  Jenkins explored this growth of archival activities in a post-diasporic urban context where community ties and political action play a central role the literary activity.  She touched on the impact on these archives of the 1997-2007 cultural agenda in the U.K. and how these archives approach challenges of engagement and interaction.

Our final speaker David Sutton addressed recent developments in acquisition of Caribbean literary archives.  Sutton mentioned the key example of Cuba, the effect on archives of diasporic lives, the power of the market and the politics of location.  He addressed the role of U.S., Britain, Canada and France, in systematically collecting the archives of non-nationals, with a strong interest in Caribbean figures.  He presented the efforts of the Diasporic Literary Archives Network to address needs of migratory and split literary archives across the world, particularly around the politics of location and the possibilities of the digital.  He also detailed practical guidance provided to Caribbean repositories.  He shared recent success stories: the Monique Roffey papers now at UWI St Augustine and the Anthony C. Winkler papers at the National Library of Jamaica as well as the consolidation of the archives of Cuban writer/musicologist Alejo Carpentier from four separate repositories. Sutton suggested ways to elicit hidden archival threads (including women’s voices).  Finally, he addressed the ethical and practical considerations for dealing effectively with the politics of location including raising international awareness and respect for less wealthy nations, and the need for solidarity work with newer acquiring countries.

Thought points brought out from these discussions by Catherine Hobbs included:

  • the roles of art and literature in forming and maintaining culture
  • movements toward multiple diasporic movements in people’s lives creating more complex ideas of provenance and the politics of place
  • suppression and rediscovery of hidden women’s voices in macho cultural contexts
  • tensions inherent in post-colonial nations’ acquisitions policies around such cultural records (and the need to obviate tensions and interactions)
  • pressures of the global publishing economy and global scholarship on so-named “post-colonial literatures”
  • needs for archivists to intuit the appropriate place for these archives and consider innovative solutions drawing on the articulations of archives creators (concerning place and connections with other art forms).

Please feel free to contact the SLA Section Chair (David Sutton d.c.sutton@reading.ac.uk) if you would like further details on the discussion.

Posted on behalf of Catherine Hobbs

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La memoria de García Lorca regresa por fin a Granada

Tras dos años de tensiones y retrasos, los manuscritos, pinturas, fotografías y cartas de Federico García Lorca comienzan su viaje desde Madrid a Granada. Aunque el traslado real del legado del poeta está previsto para antes de verano, el desbloqueo administrativo que da luz verde a su mudanza se ha iniciado este miércoles con un acuerdo entre la Fundación García Lorca y las Administraciones unidas en un consorcio (Ministerio de Cultura, Junta de Andalucía, Ayuntamiento y Diputación de Granada). “Por fin, vamos a poder desarrollar el proyecto completo del centro, que incluye numerosas actividades, en consonancia con la importancia del archivo”, ha asegurado la sobrina del poeta, Laura García Lorca, quien ha mostrado a este diario su satisfacción por ver “el final de un proceso muy largo”.

El Centro García Lorca, ubicado a un paso de la catedral de Granada, se inauguró en 2015, pero sin contenido principal. Una decepción prolongada durante dos años y medio que parece encauzarse. La junta rectora del consorcio ha ratificado en la ciudad andaluza la clave para la mudanza del legado desde la Residencia de Estudiantes madrileña: la liquidación de la encomienda de gestión a la fundación para la construcción del centro.

En otras palabras, después de que las Administraciones encargaran a la fundación la gestión de la construcción del centro García Lorca y esta presentara facturas por un millón de euros que el consorcio no consideraba asumibles, y tras la polémica gestión del antiguo secretario, Juan Tomás Martín, al que se denunció por supuesta falsedad documental y apropiación indebida, ahora se ha alcanzado un acuerdo. Cuando el legado del autor de La casa de Bernarda Alba aterrice en Granada, las Administraciones pagarán un depósito a la fundación que saldará la diferencia entre las facturas reconocidas y las no reconocidas (por exposiciones que el consorcio no cree asumibles).

El depósito durará hasta 2020, cuando una fundación pública andaluza asumirá los bienes del poeta y la Fundación García Lorca quedará integrada en este nuevo organismo. Las cuatro Administraciones controlarán los gastos de la fundación y del centro. “Hoy es un gran día que culmina un gran camino. Se cierra un capítulo para Granada y Andalucía, para atraer a un nuevo turismo cultural y rematar la faena”, ha afirmado el consejero de Cultura, Miguel Ángel Vázquez. “El legado estará para siempre donde tiene que estar”, ha añadido el alcalde de Granada, Francisco Cuenca.

El acuerdo entre las partes para el traslado ha sido rubricado esta tarde en Granada. “Se han escrito muchas cosas, incluso difamatorias, sobre las intenciones del patronato, de la familia… No tienen ningún fundamento. Nuestra intención ha sido tozuda y clara desde que constituimos la fundación: que el legado de García Lorca viniera a Granada”, ha señalado la sobrina del poeta. “Vamos a hacer todo lo posible porque el centro sea un lugar de luz y de radiación de la obra de García Lorca”, ha agregado.

Fachada del Centro Federico García Lorca en Granada

Ahora el calendario previsto marca que la mudanza se haga en dos tiempos, un primer envío antes de marzo, y otro antes del verano. “Podemos comunicar de modo firme y comprometido que el legado de García Lorca estará por fin en Granada antes del 30 junio”, ha dicho Vázquez, quien ha señalado que como antesala de la mudanza el centro granadino acogerá, antes del 28 de febrero, la exposición Una habitación propia, con elementos del legado que ya se quedarían en la ciudad. “Esta muestra ya se ha podido ver en la Residencia de Estudiantes. El material llega para quedarse para siempre”, ha avanzado el consejero.

Los problemas para el traslado del legado nacieron tras un supuesto desvío de fondos por parte del exsecretario de la fundación, Juan Tomás Martín. Las cuestiones económicas dieron paso a una denuncia de la presidenta, Laura García Lorca, y un proceso judicial aún en marcha.

El legado del poeta, declarado Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC) en 2016, fue tasado en su día por la casa de subastas Christie’s en unos 20 millones de euros, cifra que la fundación considera excesivamente baja y que no tiene en cuenta el valor real de las obras y documentos.                                                                                 [Articulo – ‘El País’]

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Mexico City session on Caribbean archives

‘Topics of Artistic and Literary Archives in the Caribbean’ was the title of a lively and well-received panel presented by members of the Section for Literary and Artistic Archives (SLA)  during an afternoon session of the first day of the ICA conference in Mexico City on 27 November 2017.

  • Panelists for the session on ‘Topics of literary and artistic archives of the Caribbean’, left to right:  David Sutton, Deborah Jenkins, Sebastian Gurciullo, Catherine Hobbs, Heather Dean.

    Heather Dean (Associate Director, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Victoria, Canada), presented a paper entitled ‘Literary Collecting in the Caribbean Region, 1960-2000’, the text was originally written by Helena Leonce, with additional material by Alison Donnell & David Sutton.

  • Dr Deborah Jenkins (Partner, ULP Archival Consultancy; Chair of the European Regional Branch of ICA, EURBICA) presented a paper entitled ‘Where are our Heroes, Martyrs and Monuments?’  focusing on archives of authors, publishers and editors from the Caribbean diaspora – in the British Library and other UK institutions.
  • Dr David Sutton (Director of Research Projects in Reading University Library, UK, and Chair/President of the SLA, ICA), spoke about recent developments in Caribbean literary collecting.
  • Dr Catherine Hobbs (Lead Literary Archivist at Library and Archives Canada, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada), gave a rappoteur’s summation to conclude the session which will be posted shortly. The session was chaired by Dr Sebastian Gurciullo (Archivist, Public Record Office Victoria, Melbourne, Australia).

Best wishes for the festive season and for the new year from the Section for Literary and Artistic Archives.

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Business meeting of the Section for Archives of Literature and Art (SLA), 25 November 2017

A Business Meeting of the Section for Archives of Literature and Art (SLA) will be held at the International Council on Archives Annual Conference in Mexico City. The meeting, organised by the SLA Committee, is open to all SLA members … Continue reading

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ICA’s Mexico conference goes ahead as planned

Secretariat Announcement. The ICA Secretariat has announced that, following a review of the situation in the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake, the ICA Conference in Mexico City will go ahead as planned next month.  Read the official announcement here. … Continue reading

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Où se trouvent les archives littéraires?

Quelques liens utiles … Répertoire des principaux dépôts d’archives littéraires et artistiques Où se trouvent les archives littéraires en France? Bibliothèque nationale de France: Littérature française Les Archives littéraires: un guide des fonds littéraires (Bibliothèque et Archives Canada) Littérature en … Continue reading

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