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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur November 3, 2021

Co-Constructing Digital Archiving Practices for Community Heritage Preservation in Egypt and Iraq

  • James Baker ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Sofya Shahab ORCID logo and Mariz Tadros


We document cultural heritage to preserve cultural heritage, to ensure its survival by pushing back against the entropic forces of forgetting and neglect. These entropic forces are particularly acute for intangible cultural heritage preserved in digital form and produced in fragile and conflict-affected settings. And whilst professionals from across the “memory” professions have responded to these challenges, based on our experience of development work with young people in Egypt and Iraq, they have done so in ways that are ill-suited to the worldviews, cultural practices, educational experience and learning models of those outside centres of archival power. This paper describes the delivery of “digital archiving” workshops, training, support and resources developed by an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral collective of academics, practitioners, community leaders and community participants. Working at the intersection of development studies, heritage management and digital preservation, this paper argues that cultural heritage practices are enriched by foregrounding particular place-based and contingent activities that productively peel back the provincialism of the canons of enlightenment memory work.

Corresponding author: James Baker, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, E-mail:

Funding source: British Academy

Award Identifier / Grant number: SDP2\100397

  1. Research funding: This work was funded by British Academy (SDP2\100397).


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Published Online: 2021-11-03
Published in Print: 2021-07-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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