The #LoveInAction project is an entirely new direction for our Omeka work, more a real-time digital archive than an online exhibition of curated items. Union Theological Seminary (UTS) faculty, students, and alumni have long been engaged in social justice activism. Working from Cornel West’s premise that “justice is what love looks like in public,” the Burke Library at UTS has been actively seeking to document UTS students, alumni/ae, and faculty participation in the #BlackLivesMatter and Occupy movements, among others, through their photos, videos, audio, flyers, pamphlets, and other writing to a living, ongoing, real-time digital archive.
LDPD worked with Elizabeth Call from the Burke Library to support the #LoveInAction project’s needs, particularly the need for students, faculty, and alumni to contribute content to the project via Omeka, the open-source content management system that the Libraries use to create and curate online exhibitions. To allow participants to directly contribute digital materials into the exhibition, our programmer, Fred Duby, first needed to upgrade our Omeka web application. He then installed and customized the externally-developed Contribution plugin so that it could be used in this context.
After the site launched, Elizabeth Call hosted a contribute-a-thon to encourage UTS activists to contribute their content. The site was advertised to UTS in newsletters and highlighted at faculty and student meetings. Burke staff plan to evaluate the project over the summer. More than 50 items have been contributed, including photographs, video footage, flyers, posters, and other documents, that cover a variety of social justice causes such as fair wages, Occupy Wall Street, the Millions March and other protests of police brutality, the People’s Climate March, notices of what to expect when engaging in civil disobedience, and more. It’s a remarkable and wonderful way for the Burke Library to actively engage with UTS faculty and students, and meet an immediate archiving need.