Architecting Sustainable Futures: Exploring Funding Models in Community-Based Archives


Community-based archives hold some of the most valuable materials documenting the lives of marginalized people, and they mostly reside in spaces outside of traditional academic and government-run cultural heritage institutions. These archives function as grassroots alternatives to mainstream repositories, where communities make decisions about what is of enduring value to them, shape collective memory, and control the means through which people construct the stories about their past.

Marginalized communities often create archives in response to being shut out of dominant historical narratives that are primarily supported by mainstream memory institutions, and in maintaining independence and encouraging community participation, they use these archives as a way to collect on their terms and to create new narratives about their history.

While community-based archives continue to collect and preserve stories of marginalized people, many of them face difficulties growing their operations, keeping their doors open, and enhancing their programming and collections activities because of a lack of access to funding.