Towards a Living Activist Archive Online: Case Study of CivilMedia@TW in Taiwan

by Chia-Wei Tung  

Abstract: This paper examines activist archiving practice in the contemporary digital era and explores how the dynamics of social activism can be preserved by looking into CivilMedia@TW, an online audio-visual activist archive dedicated to preserving and presenting social movements and citizen actions in Taiwan. The discussion in the paper focuses on the double identities of CivilMedia@TW as an audio-visual archive and an alternative media platform, as well as the archive members’ double roles as archivists and activists, exploring how it can create agency in the archival process and facilitate citizen engagements. Through close study on the archive’s history, workflows, interrelationships with activist groups, and application of alternative media practices, ultimately the paper intends to re-examine how an activist archive can interpret ‘sustainable preservation’ and achieve the ideal of a ‘living archive’, which preserves the dynamics of social activism in the present, and further mobilises citizen initiatives to bring about social change in the future.

Chia-Wei Tung is a 2017 P&P graduate. After graduation, she has been involved in a few documentary film projects and she currently works as a short film programmer at Kaohsiung Film Archive, Taiwan.