The Belkin is delighted to launch a new online artwork and archives database with funding from the Canada Council’s Digital Strategy Fund. A collaboration with artist-run centre Western Front and the UBC Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC), the project is developed by Whirl-i-Gig using open-source CollectiveAccess software to create new tools for a growing community of cultural organizations sharing open-source resources. As each partner creates their own discrete interface to their collection and archive records, the cumulative open-source community allows for these resultant tools to be shared and utilized by a range of diverse institutions. The Belkin engaged Denim & Steel Interactive to create an elegant front-end transition portal from its main website to the new database, and data migration and cleaning of over 20,000 object, collection and administrative records in the database form the foundation of the project.
This partnership with Western Front and the IRSHDC enhances discovery and access to the records of important cultural material and media art, with the three institutions collaborating to develop innovative and nuanced tools for the processing, management and delivery of digital content. Working together allows each institution to strengthen engagement with local, national and international communities of researchers, students, artists, curators, Indigenous peoples and the public to discover and access images and information.
The project has drawn on the unique contexts and expertise of each institution, such as the technical and cultural knowledge of the IRSHDC, Western Front’s media digitization and preservation activities, and the Belkin’s history of collections and archives management. Shaunna Moore, the Belkin’s former archivist (2014-19), served as Project Manager and coordinated the development and implementation process. Special thanks are due to Francesca Bennett, Reese Irwin, Brandon Leung and Nicole Mulder for their extensive work on data dictionaries, design, migration, reviewing and data cleaning, always maintaining the highest standards against all obstacles. As the Belkin celebrates its 25th anniversary of actively growing its holdings, we are excited by this opportunity to increase low barrier access to the institutional and cultural history preserved in our full archive and permanent collection.
This project has been made possible with support from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Digital Strategy Fund – Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement in partnership with the Western Front and UBC Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. The Belkin gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Program, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council Co-op Placements Program, and the UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre through the British Columbia History Digitization Program.
With the opening of the Image Bank exhibition on June 18, 2021, the gallery is pleased to launch the Outdoor Screen, a 4x2 metre outdoor screen curated with media works from the Belkin’s permanent collection and archive alongside work commissioned specifically for this platform.[more]
Like most of the world right now, the Belkin is looking at the way we work and wondering how to move forward in this moment of unprecedented change. We are looking at the world through a different lens now – the texts we’ve read are no longer relevant in the same way; the ways we have been working will be forever changed. We’re asking ourselves, what will the art world look like when this is over? How does cultural work proceed when we move to virtual space? What is the status of our collective experience? How are artists imagining production and practice in their changed material conditions? What does intimacy look like? Until we can welcome you back in person, here are just a few ways to connect with us and share our common (and unique) responses to this moment.[more]