CLIR’s Material Memory podcast series explores ways in which collective memory and the organizations entrusted with its stewardship are experiencing the disruptions of rapid technical innovation, accelerating climate change, armed conflict, mass movements of population, political and legal regimes that hamper access to culture, and the unintended ravages of simple neglect. The series will highlight efforts that memory institutions are taking to safeguard our heritage despite these odds. Season One focuses on people who are countering these effects by reformatting and sharing the threatened musical and oral traditions of indigenous cultures, as subjects tell their own stories of loss, recovery, and hope.
This season’s podcasts will share stories of people who are reaching deep into their community’s past to find, secure, and share the knowledge that has sustained them. The future of that knowledge—knowledge that is necessary to solve tomorrow’s challenges—depends upon each generation providing stewardship. Those who lament the scale of today’s challenges and insist that they are unique will discover that it is not the scale of the problems that matters, but the scale of the response to them. The richness of our cultural memory is itself testimony to how successful humankind has been in managing this precious knowledge. It is proof that our future is born of what the past knows.
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The First Episode of “Material Memory” is Already Available
What does it take to keep recorded memory alive for use by future generations? What are the threats to our cultural record, and what is at stake if it’s lost? In the first episode of Material Memory, we explore these issues with Charles Henry, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources. We discuss ways to address threats to cultural memory, such as climate change and the vulnerability of digital information, and how to create egalitarian access to shared knowledge.