Gossip as Practice, Gossip as Care

Affective Information Practices in the Archives

  • Emily Guerrero


Often seen as suspect and untrustworthy, gossip as it is currently conceptualized comes from historic attempts by people who have experienced social marginalization to share information, build stronger relationships, and assess a dominant narrative against lived experience. In this article, I will be outlining how gossip has animated my archival work at the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archives, an artist-run centre in Vancouver, BC, and using the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archives as a case study. Several distinct uses of gossip emerge: these include offering space for archives workers to connect and build solidarity, opening up new avenues for reassessing what we consider to be relevant information in archival description, providing strategies for navigating sensitive information within collections, and acting as an alternative to narratives of trauma when considering archival silences. Drawing on practice theory and studies of community archives and deeply influenced by an ethos of transformative justice, this project is connected to the growing body of scholarly work that examines information and memory work through the lens of affect theory and a feminist ethics of care. This work contributes to the articulation of person-centred archival praxis by theorizing gossip as a tactic of care that trains the ear to better notice the experiences, complaints, and contributions of the people surrounding the records at hand.

Author Biography

Emily Guerrero

Emily Guerrero is an archivist and librarian living on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəyə̓m, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlí̓lw̓ətaʔɬ Nations. They hold an MLIS from the University of British Columbia. They are an archivist at the CDMLA at VIVO Media Arts Centre. Their most recent research has been featured in the exhibit Lavendar Conception Conspiracy: East Van Dyke Parenting in the 1980s and ’90s at VIVO Media Arts in 2020, and as an artist-in-residence at Unit/Pitt La Commune free school in 2021.

How to Cite
Guerrero, Emily. 2022. “Gossip As Practice, Gossip As Care: Affective Information Practices in the Archives”. Archivaria 94 (December), 182-202. https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13873.