AO: This exhibit focuses attention on sites and institutions which have been tasked to care for primary ethnographic materials, what I call elsewhere qualitative research data. Given the limited scope and time available, in this iteration of the exhibit, we were not able to follow the people who maintain as well as those who use the materials. The voices foregrounded throughout the exhibit are those which were prominant in already existing online materials about these sites. We were also not focused on comprehensively documenting what is contained within the collections but rather to give a snapshot of the diversity of holdings.
As I (AO) developed the exhibit, the types of organizations to be highlighted shifted. While the initial focus was on archives (with the National Archive as the motivation and starting point for the whole exhibit), over the months of research, libraries also emerged as important public sites for research and knowledge production. The line between the two categories of sites were blurred for example when libraries also held archives (as in the case of BIEA and Kenya National Museum Library) or when the materials within the library also included newspaper archives (as in the case of McMillan).
As the exhibit unfolded, opportunities for collaboration also emerged. Syokau and I (AO) met and she became interested in adding an essay to the exhibit on the National Museum of Kenya Library. Syokau introduced me to Trevas, both recent graduates from the University of Nairobi Anthropology program and Trevas and I began to work jointly on the other essays. Weekly debriefs and discussions about the materials added another layer of insight to the process of developing the exhibit and highlights the capacity of PECE and its associated processes to facilitate collaborative analysis; it was in dialogue about the narratives surrounding the different spaces that we came to new insights.
Through the making of this exhibit, I had the opportunity to reconnect with former colleagues like Nyambura and also meet and engage with new strangers-turned-friends like Chao, Jimmy, Shiraz, Kimani, Syokau, Trevas, and others from whom I have been able to learned much. A big thank you to all who were so willing to be part of this endeavor.
AO: In this artifact, I reflect on how the exhibit was constructed and how various contributors joined over the course of the making of the exhibit.