One-on-One Labs by Jennifer Dick

Mark Bath in rehearsal, Newfoundland Dance Project / Photo: Jill Willcott

DCD LaBS – Where we started …

From April-July, 2021 we conducted a pilot project of One-on-One Live Labs through Zoom. This gave us an opportunity to introduce DCD Discover to Independent dance artists across Canada and beta test the site. This approach was taken to better understand: 

  • How to engage and bring users to the site.
  • Develop a basic tutorial for how to navigate the site.
  • Gain feedback and insight from communities.  

We held many curated live labs along the path to developing an open source digital archive. Topics ranged from DCD exhibits, regional research, and digitization processes, and invited participants to join in and use DCD Discover. 

Why 1:1 Labs?

A one-to-one conversational approach was also undertaken to see what people were thinking, outside of a group scenario. This approach made room for questions, the exchange of ideas, and a range of possibilities to emerge. These conversations sparked discussions about copyright, consent, and privacy.  Some focused on issues of curation, formats, and accessibility. While others wound their way towards an exchange on the nature of content, and into imagining a process for understanding one’s own legacy. 

Some examples of conversational threads:

  • “How do I choose from my many many projects and years in dance, where to start

my collections?”

  • “How can hyperlinks be added to connect resources and finding aid?”
  • “Could you put up a video to show me how to do things?”
  • “I’m not sure about context and consistency. I need guidelines.”
  • “Is this a donation of my past into your (DCD) future?”
  • “What is the range of things I can upload?”
  • “I’d like to curate my materials, I’m concerned it’s a representation–and what about the quality of a representation–In terms of production values of original, accessibility, and converting?”
  • “Do I need a ‘release’ of material?”
  • “Will you follow up with me?”
  • “This will take a chunk of time.”
  • “DCD is Ontario and Ballet centered.”
  • “Uploading is slow, wifi varies.”
  • “Question around the values of archives.”
  • “Is this a space to archive my work for future viewers?”
  • “Is this a living archive?”
  • “I’m hesitant about what I post online/social media.”
  • “Tags (generated by the AI) are too general.”
  • “Is there a list of what to include?”
  • It would be useful to have a date and location box.

Be part of the story

The archives can seem like a fixed idea because it deals in the past. However, we know that the past, present and future are alive in the moment of now. And it is in this spirit that we call to all dancers, genres, and dance communities, with an open invitation to add your collections and post items. 

How to be part of the story …

Where to start? If you’re having trouble getting going, thinking about digital archiving as being more akin to posting on instagram might help get you started. Upload or ‘post’ items which already live in the public domain—things you’ve already posted or sent out as part of performance media such as: posters, postcards, photos, news clippings, and artwork. 

In a shifting milieu, the digital space of DCD Discover has the potential to house and place in  conversation the details which self define one’s danced history and determine your contribution to a danced legacy. Yes, Collections can be genres or locations! Sure–add hyperlinks to your performance! The digital space of DCD Discover learns from you! Upload and hold your space. 

Contact me …

Please contact me with your comments and if you would like a 1:1 lab.

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