Event | Intoxicating the Archive – Preserving Narcotic Heritage and including Marginalized Voices in Collections and Libraries


“Intoxicating the Archive” critically explores how the memories and struggles of people who use drugs and those of other marginalized and/or activist groups in history are represented in archives, museums, and collective memory at large. While often being invisible at first, drug cultures have left traces in many archives and collections. However, finding and uncovering the often hidden history of drugs and the people who used them can be challenging. Whose memories are being recorded and whose voices are lost?

Focusing on archival initiatives in the Netherlands, Germany, and the US, we discuss how archive-making and politics can help preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and the conflicts of the people involved. How can these experiences of stigma, persecution, and activism be adequately preserved, prioritized, and remembered? How can archivists, historians, and community members participate in effective and useful ways to document local histories and build archival collections? In what ways can we create new historical sources by encouraging the use of oral history and digital storytelling?


Roundtable with inputs by Machteld Busz (Stories from the Drug Closet, Amsterdam), Kenneth Cobb (Municipal Archives, New York), Jen Hoyer and Brooke Shuman (Interference Archive, New York), Stefan Höhne (Narcotic City Archive, Essen), Kimberly Springer (Oral History Archives at Columbia, New York). Moderator: Gemma Blok (Open University, Netherlands).

The roundtable-format will allow the audience and panelists to exchange ideas and experiences in an informal setting – sitting around a large table. The events are limited to 40 participants.


Machteld Busz is director of the Dutch Mainline Foundation, an organization that works for the health and human rights of drug users in the Netherlands and beyond. Busz is also the initiator and director of the drug museum in formation Poppi Drugs Museum Amsterdam.

Kenneth Cobb is Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Records & Information Services (DORIS). He joined the Municipal Archives in 1978 and served as Director from 1990 through 2004. Established in 1977, DORIS preserves and provides public access to historical and contemporary records and information about New York City government. They operate the Municipal Archives, the Municipal Library, and the Records Center.

Kimberly Springer (Oral History Archives at Columbia) is an independent scholar specializing in digital cultures, digital archives/preservation, social movements, television studies, and race/gender/class analysis. She’s currently the Curator of Oral History at the Columbia Center for Oral History at Columbia University in New York City and adjunct visiting Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at Barnard College.

Jen Hoyer (Interference Archive) is a librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology and has volunteered on collections, exhibitions, and education projects at Interference Archive since 2013. She writes about the intersections of education, archives, and social movement history. Brooke Shuman is a video producer at More Perfect Union covering labor and workers’ rights. As volunteer at Interference Archive, she has worked on exhibitions on anti-fascism in the United States and disability/crip activism.

Interference Archive is a Brooklyn-based, all-volunteer-run community space and public archive, home to an extensive collection of social movement materials. Founded in 2011 by a small contingent of cultural workers and activists, the archive is rooted in the belief that our shared histories should be held in common and accessible to all. We encourage critical and creative engagement with the histories of people mobilizing for social transformation through an archival collection, public exhibitions, a social center, talks, screenings, publications, workshops, and a rich online presence.

Stefan Höhne is a cultural studies scholar from The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, Germany, focusing on histories of urban everyday life in Europe and North America. He is the leader of the international research project Governing the Narcotic City, which is hosting the Narcotic City Archive, the first open-access archive of public drug cultures, aiming to preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and governance.

Gemma Blok (Moderator) is a cultural historian and professor of Mental Health Humanities at the Open University of the Netherlands, specializing in the history of psychiatry, addiction treatment, and drug and alcohol use in the twentieth century. She is currently working on the history of heroin use in Europe after 1970, with a special focus on user experiences and user activism.

This event is part of the Narcotic City Event Series at 1014 which explores the discourses, imaginaries, practices, and consequences of public drug use from the 1970s until the present with a focus on American and European cities. Across three evening roundtables, we address how cultures of drug consumption are interwoven into public spaces, everyday lives, and public memories of cities, bringing together expert activists, scholars, and workers on public health, narcotic cultures, and archival politics from the US, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

During the evening events, 1014 will also present part of the Narcotic City Archive – the first interactive archive to collect and preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and governance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its launch in 2021, this innovative resource fosters knowledge, visibility, and engagement between researchers, activists, users, and a wider public. More: www.narcotic-archive.org.

The Narcotic City Event Series is organized by the international research project “Governing the Narcotic City” ( www.narcotic.city) together with 1014 and KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, Essen and with generous support from The Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) program.

Venue accessibility

Unfortunately, 1014 Fifth Avenue is in the process of being refurbished, and is not fully accessible in its current state. We apologize to our guests and kindly ask you to contact j.stubbs@1014.nyc if you need further information or assistance. We will do our best to enable everyone to join us.