Deborah Withers

Biography and/or project

My current research explores changing experiences of historicity and time in the digital age. I argue that the circulation of archival ‘presences’ in digital culture has transformed the normative conditions of historicity, forcing people to live with different historical times in a simultaneous, co-present manner. My research asks what does it mean to live with history as a form of otherness and difference, and what are the ethical implications of this greater proximity to historicity in the digital age. Furthermore, as meaningful encounters with historical material resides in archival fragments rather than totalising narrative, this opens up greater opportunities for local interpretation rather than expert representation. My research is also concerned with how memory is transferred across generations, focusing in particular in the transmission of musical memory in feminist activist communities. I draw on the work of Bernard Stie gler to explore how digital archives are facilitating the animation of links/ circuits of memory, and how grassroots political cultures partake in, create and reinvent intangible cultural heritage. As a professional I am a trustee of the Feminist Archive South, I am interested in the technical and theoretical aspects to digitisation. I am a curator, publisher and writer. These are my projects –