We live in the age of information, but how often do we think about what has been lost—or nearly lost? From memories left on discarded machines to the voices of ancestors trapped on obsolete media, we are losing parts of human history each day.
In theme-based seasons, Material Memory explores the effects of our changing environment—such as digital technologies, the climate crisis, or global human displacement—on our ability to access the record of our shared humanity, and the critical role that libraries, archives, museums, and other public institutions play in keeping cultural memory alive.
Heritage Has a History
Anthropologist Dr. Blessing Nonye Onyima discusses the effects of colonialism and climate change on Nigeria’s cultural heritage, from the changing migration patterns of Fulani nomads to the looting of African antiquities.
The Home of Memory
Where do we house our memories? What does it mean to lose our records? Drawing on her experience as an archivist and as a hurricane evacuee, Itza Carbajal speaks about the impacts of the climate crisis on our recorded memory.
Intangible or “living” cultural heritage includes folk arts, food, and other traditions. Host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo talks to media scholar Saiful Alam Chowdhury about how climate change affects living heritage in Bangladesh and how to protect it.
Climate Displacement and Cultural Resilience
Victoria Herrmann, president of the Arctic Institute, discusses climate displacement in the United States, the risks it poses to communities and traditions, and how cultural memory builds resilience.
How We Tell the Story of Disaster
Anthropologist and emergency management specialist Dr. Crystal Felima speaks about her work on climate hazards, disaster narratives in Haiti and Puerto Rico, and the role of libraries.
Archivists Against the Climate Crisis
Archivists Eira Tansey and Ben Goldman discuss their research on the impact of climate change on U.S. archives. They share their approaches to climate activism and the superpowers librarians can bring to the fight for environmental justice, both within and outside of their employer institutions.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Eye opening !
Every episode is so informative and eye opening! I always feel enlightened after listening and my time just flies by. The people interviewed are all fantastic. Would highly recommend !!
A fascinating but scary look at how important cultural memory is to our identity and how environmental forces are threatening its preservation. CLIR’s take on this topic and the interviews with experts is well presented in a 20-minute package that should be of interest to anyone.
Powerful Opening Episode
What a thoughtful and moving conversation about the dangers to worldwide cultural heritage. I was particularly struck by Charles Henry’s description of the movement from worrying the physical record to the intensity and complexity of saving the physical and the digital heritage of the world. Especially in a time of unprecedented dislocation of populations because of violence and war and the mounting threat of climate change. CLIR’s committment to making a difference through multiple collaborative projects is admirable. And crucial.