Radical Empathy in Archival Practice Poster and Postcards


  • Gracen Brilmyer McGill University School of Information Studies
  • Michelle Caswell University of California, Los Angeles
  • Marika Cifor University of Washington




This poster and accompanying postcards were created by Gracen Brilmyer for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Science (JCLIS) special issue on Radical Empathy in Archival Practice. The poster and postcards visualize and embody the four archival relationships proposed by Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor in their 2016 Archivaria article, “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in Archives,” in addition to three new relationships proposed by others.

You are encouraged to complete this poster by:

  1. Filling in each of the 7 illustrated relationships (dotted line box) on postcards
  2. Mailing postcards to someone who embodies this relationship
  3. Appending the postcards to the poster, or writing in the relationships

Additionally, since poster printing can be cost prohibitive, we have also included a "Printer-Friendly" version of the poster, which can easily be printed on multiple 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper and assembled. 

Pre-prints first published online 05/21/2021

Author Biographies

Gracen Brilmyer, McGill University School of Information Studies

Gracen Brilmyer (they/them) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. Their research lies at the intersection of feminist disability studies and archival studies, where they investigate the erasure of disabled people in archives primarily within the history of natural history museums. Outside of academia, they are involved in Disability Justice, Design Justice, and social justice projects. For more: gracenbrilmyer.com.

Michelle Caswell, University of California, Los Angeles

Michelle Caswell is an Associate Professor of Information Studies at UCLA, where she directs UCLA's Community Archives Lab. Together with Samip Mallick, she is the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA).

Marika Cifor, University of Washington

Marika Cifor is Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. She is a feminist scholar working at the intersections of archival studies and digital studies. Her research investigates how through archives, records, and data produced within digital cultures, individuals and communities marginalized by sexuality, race, class, gender, and HIV-status enact and give substance to their identities, collective memories, and social movements.

Currently, Marika is working on a book and digital humanities project, Viral Cultures: Activist Archives at the End of AIDS (University of Minnesota Press, under contract), that examines the critical potential of the emotions and memories that are recorded and produced by archives documenting HIV/AIDS activism during the 1980s and 1990s. This project also investigates the activation of these records on contemporary digital platforms by artists, archivists, and activists. As part of the interdisciplinary Border Quants: Feminist Approaches to Data, Bodies and Technologies Across Borders research team, she is working to develop feminist data studies. At the iSchool, Marika holds affiliations with the DataLab and the Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) group.