Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth

Reanimating Data: experiments with people, places and archives

The ‘Reanimating Data’ project, funded by the ESRC’s and led by Rachel Thomson (Social Work and Social Care) working with Ester McGeeney, Sharon Webb (Digital Humanities), and Niamh Moore (University of Edinburgh), was born of the culture of CIRCY and its collaborations with the Sussex Humanities Lab.

The project has involved the team working across disciplinary divides to shape a new kind of archival investigation into young women’s sexual health and empowerment, as well as exploring methods for sharing and reanimating this material with youth groups in contemporary times. The team worked with interview data from a landmark study of youth sexuality conducted in 1988-90 – the Women, Risk & AIDS project – that were held in a new open access archive, Feminist Approaches to Youth Sexualities (FAYS). The in-depth interviews with young women focused on questions of sexuality and risk at a time when private lives and troubles were turning into public health problems, shaped by the threat of HIV and AIDS, but also a time when popular feminism and activism saw young women making gender trouble.

Inspired by traditions of community archiving and the potential of new kinds of open access platforms for archiving, curating and sharing material, the project engaged in a series of experiments with people, places and archives. At the heart of the project was a willingness to take ‘careful risks’ in order to question and expand ethical research practice.

The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’ Transforming Social Science initiative.

Reanimating Data