Hope Archive

The foundations for the Hope Archive have been laid with the video archive of the Düzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victims who have been fighting for the right to healthy and safe housing since the 1999 earthquake. The videos showing the implementation process of the Düzce Hope Homes, Turkey’s first mass housing project that has been created with the participation of its users with the principle “struggling together, designing together, building together”, were uploaded to the database. The story of Düzce Home Homes, which are still under construction, is filled with legal and social struggles that have been going on for the last eighteen years.

In time, Düzce activists have compiled a rich archive, consisting of a variety of materials such as news reports, legal correspondence, petitions, photographs and videos. The idea for the Hope Archive stemmed from a very practical need: it was an answer to the question “What can be done to render this archive visible?” Düzce Hope Homes is an experience that shows the possibility of an alternative way of creating housing. Yet, very few people in Turkey have heard of this project which became a finalist in the World Habitat Awards in 2017. Believing that every experience is a learning process, the Düzce Hope Homes activists started working on an archive that is accessible for everyone. The idea that this archive would not house only Düzce Hope Homes, but many other struggles was first raised in an exhibition held on the struggle of Düzce Hope Homes at Studio-X between May 6 – June 10, 2016.

Later, Center for Spatial Justice (MAD) was set up in 2017 by a group of people from disciplines such as architects, urban planners, journalists, lawyers and geographers, many of whom were also activists for Düzce Hope Homes. Under the coordination of, Hope Archive has taken its contemporary form and evolved into an interactive archive over time.

Status
Ongoing
Date
2016
Owner
Form
Scope and Purpose

Hope Archive as “a participatory visual memory platform of struggles for justice in urban and rural spaces” and essentially an interactive, publicly accessible archive. In its own words, “Hope Archive is a visual database mapping spatial and ecological justice that aims to create a visual memory. It is an online platform where everyone can upload and share their own videos.”

Run by Center for Spatial Justice (MAD), Hope Archive aims to provide visibility for groups around the world who have similar struggles and help them communicate with each other. Believing that thinking about the meaning of practices and subjectivities that have emerged in different parts of the world in a universal context gives hope and opens up horizons, the Hope Archive expresses that “they interpret hope as taking responsible action in a world that has an unpredictable future.” Hope Archive presents stories of the search for justice in Turkey and around the world and inspirational experiences. These counter-movements that have risen in response to right violations can also be read as struggles that reclaim space. For this reason, it can be argued that works that suggest alternative ways are especially highlighted. Since the Hope Archive is not only a remembrance or commemoration project, it practices video-activism by employing the inspiring and informative power of the experience that tells about how to fight against unjust policies we’re facing.

MAD team stresses that all kinds of injustices, be it social or economic or political, happen in certain physical spaces. These spaces can either host the struggles for justice, or be their ultimate cause. This is why the video contents in the archive are presented as “spaces of hope.” Spaces of hope in the Hope Archive are mapped under 3 different data formats (spatial, conceptual and temporal). On the platform, spaces of hope are marked on a world map. There is also a conceptual map, which comprises keywords that enable connections between similar experiences, and a timeline organized chronologically according to videos, each assigned to a space of hope. Some of the “Hopes” that are presented on the platform include Wednesday Seminars, Conscience, and Justice Meetings, 95 cm, Removing Barriers. Users can add new spaces of hope by logging in the platform using their emails or Twitter accounts and can add new spaces of hope by clicking on the “Add Hope” button.

Impact

One of the main problems faced by civil society actors is the lack of visibility for their work. When it is considered that shared videos on social media are one of the most widespread tools that are used to “get one’s point across”, it can be argued that Hope Archive is a platform that provides visibility for these struggles.

Besides, the database visitors state that best practices in the archive help them rethink their practices. “The Hope Archive showed us these are stories of hope and helped us understand how to situate our practice within this large geography of hopelessness.”

The Center for Spatial Justice organizes video marathons to have more videos since April 2019. These are 3-day workshops and civil society members are expected to come to these workshops with a more or less developed idea. One or two-minute videos are produced at the end of the workshop. These workshops are used as a method to add more videos to the Hope Archive. On the other hand, groups that did not participate in these workshops can also upload their videos.

Civil society organizations can continue the relations that have established at these workshops and come together for projects that are independent of the Hope Archive. In other words, it can be suggested that these video marathons help create a solidarity network. For example, a non-governmental organization that fights against child abuse developed an idea to shoot a documentary on child abuse by considering alternative ways to create funding for the project and started to work on it with the help of this workshop.

Challenges

Launched in 2016, the Hope Archive relies on volunteer work and is inspired by the story of Düzce earthquake victims. In the beginning, to meet the technical requirements, volunteers sometimes had to work or made the payments themselves. Today, after three years of experience, the Hope Archive is financed by several projects that cover content development, the design of a new user interface, and improvements on the website. Therefore, during this period efforts for promotion and adding new content to the archive have taken place with certain material limitations.

Another challenge was the lack of familiarity of civil society organizations and social movements in Turkey with the practice of creating stories of hope with short videos. MAD encourages social movements and civil society organizations that can set an example to create content that can be presented in the Hope Archive. Videographs and civil society organizations willing to produce videos for the archive come together in the Hope Archive Video Marathon. MAD contacts civil society organizations and introduce the Hope Archive and participants create 2-to-3-minute videos at the end of the workshops. This lack of familiarity on the part of initiatives can sometimes lead to the extension of the work process during the video workshops.