SHARING STORIES FROM THE CITY

Lockdown may have prevented us from going to galleries and museums in person, but it hasn’t stopped us from accessing culture online. Dozens of museums and galleries have made their collections available for us to browse from the safety of our homes, albeit via a working internet connection. Even more art institutions have migrated their programmes online, presenting a range of content on the internet (videos, photography, Twitter Q&As, Zoom workshops) as a temporary substitute for traditional exhibitions existing in their physical spaces.

In a new series for our Arts + Culture Podcast, hosts Laura Brown and Christopher Torpey pick out some forms of digital culture archives that have been keeping them entertained while remaining socially distanced. The first selections feature queer zine archive QZAP (Queer Zine Archive project), and the University of Liverpool’s interactive Viking Age In The North West app.

From an interactive map of Merseyside highlighting Viking heritage and folklore, to one of the most comprehensive collections of zines, literature, posters and ephemera documenting queer culture, these choices show the breadth of ways in which we archive our cultural output online. With its no-frills setup, QZAP is an online library that perfectly represents the DIY publishing sphere it represents. It also does so without judgement, allowing fans, researchers and curious minds to navigate the thousands of well-tagged items with ease, allowing you to make your own mind up. While the app-based Viking Age archive is much more glossy, it still engenders the same sense of discovery, offering the right mix of historical information and folklore.

What both show us are different ways we can archive the culture and history around us. Moreover, they show why it is important to do so, and to ensure that the compiling and presentation of these archives is done in a way such that it presents all of the information for others to discover anew. There is a real problem in our archiving – especially of digital culture – being written by ‘the winners’, being curated and often selective.

We’d like to hear your own suggestions for what digital culture archives we should explore on an upcoming episode. See below for how to share your thoughts with us.

Listen along and tell us what you think – listen above, or via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Acast and Stitcher. Get in touch with us to share your own stories on podcast@bidolito.co.uk, or tweet us @BidoLito.

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