Oral tradition is one of the ways Black history has been passed down through generations. Spoken word, music, song, legends, proverbs, language, and much more have combined to sustain our customs and beliefs, and allow for self-determination of our identities.
“The Oral Tradition” podcast by the Black Digital Archiving project features cultural icons in the archival sector, discussing the themes of celebration, education, loss, migration and resistance. Join us as we chat with our guests who have helped to shape, record and share Black histories.
The Oral Tradition with the BDA Research Team
From the origins of disappearing narratives and identity politics in the battleground of Big Tech, to the present existing landscape and the uplifting potential of digital technology, Rudy Loewe, Ghislaine Yimga, Tania Nwachukwu, and Debs Durojaiye reflect on their experience spearheading the Black Digital Archiving project, and their hope for this initiative to foster greater community engagement in the UK archiving space.
The Oral Tradition with Ajamu X
The rukus! archive project is a collection of historical and cultural Black LGBT+ materials. It was launched in London in June 2005 by photographer Ajamu X, and filmmaker and theatre director Topher Campbell.In this episode, co-founder Ajamu X talks about the power of the archive for collective memory and preserving Black queer history for future generations.
Illustration: Rudy Loewe
The Oral Tradition with Lavinya Stennett
Black history” is often presented as separate and apart from “British history” in UK schools. In this episode, Lavinya Stennett, founder of the Black Curriculum, highlights the steps to integrating these histories — by first working with educators to support the teaching of Black history all year round, and adapting the national curriculum to expand their awareness of these missing narratives to make it more inclusive for all students and empower them with a sense of identity and belonging.
The Oral Tradition with Eric Huntley
Eric Huntley discusses the challenges of finding homes for Black archival materials and the lack of care and acknowledgement these materials receive from institutional archives in the UK.
Illustration: Rudy Loewe
The Oral Tradition with Kelly Foster
Historian Kelly Foster charts the history of archiving Black materials in the UK, the role of the institutions in today’s landscape and the lasting legacy of British imperialism and its impact on archiving Black history in the UK. From the founding of the Black Cultural Archives to the prolific use of modern repositories like wikipedia, Kelly Foster discusses the role of access and digital literacy in creating more open space for participation in the archiving process by members of Black communities.