r-shief: archiving gaza

i have been meaning to blog about this for a while. my oldest and dearest friend, laila shereen, has given birth to an amazing new project called r-sheif. here is a description of the new online innovative project she has created:

The R-Shief Initiative provides a platform for a community of users to archive their multilingual research—essays and articles, interactive projects, digital video, maps/images, project documentation, websites of organizations, journalism, as well as practical information on how to do research in the Middle East.

This multi-lingual, multi-positional resource fills an urgent need for digital infrastructure designed to empower unheard Middle Eastern voices. The initiative is a call for a collective organizing of information those of us undoing Huntington’s nihilistic “clash of civilizations.”

Located online, it is an initiative in the field of knowledge production that distinguishes a contemporary Arab transnational public as an emerging voice on the world stage deserving serious attention given this community’s role in current geopolitical, international, and transcultural agendas. The board of advisors, consisting of leading artists and scholars, is interested in the scope of work, specifically, by 21st century transnational researchers, scholars, artists, activists migrating to and from the Middle East—displaced yet networked online, within organizations and institutions, as well as through shared, social and historical experiences. Thus, it is important that R-Shief archive a mixed array of contemporary media.

The word ‘R-Shief’ has been chosen because it is the Arabic word for ‘archive.’ It offers an extremely sophisticated resource for libraries, universities, and electronic information banking and retrieval.

A challenge R-Shief faces is to give credibility and authority to non-traditional research methods and what they produce. The R-Shief Initiative approaches digital video, personal narratives in the form of blogs, collaborative production models and other mixed media, as well as non-dominant research practices with the same rigor and depth of critical analysis that is used to recognize scholarship. This project is designed for those interested in exploring innovative and non-traditional platforms and methodologies in their processes of production and publication.

here is a wonderful video she created to illustrate what this website will be and its first archive, which will focus on gaza:


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