Do / 18:30

Intoxicating the Archive – Preserving Narcotic Heritage and including Marginalized Voices in Collections and Libraries

Narcotic City Event Series at 1014

Machteld Busz (Amsterdam), Kenneth Cobb (New York), Jen Hoyer and Brooke Shuman (New York), Stefan Höhne (Essen), Kimberly Springer (New York)

1014 5th Avenue
New York, NY, 10028 United States

This event critically explores how the memories and struggles of people who use drugs and those of other marginalized and/or activist groups in history are represented in archives, museums, and collective memory at large. While often being invisible at first, drug cultures have left traces in many archives and collections. However, finding and uncovering the often hidden history of drugs and the people who used them can be challenging. Whose memories are being recorded and whose voices are lost?

Focusing on archival initiatives in the Netherlands, Germany, and the US, we discuss how archive-making and politics can help preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and the conflicts of the people involved. How can these experiences of stigma, persecution, and activism be adequately preserved, prioritized, and remembered? How can archivists, historians, and community members participate in effective and useful ways to document local histories and build archival collections? In what ways can we create new historical sources by encouraging the use of oral history and digital storytelling?


This event is part of the Narcotic City Event Series at 1014 which explores the discourses, imaginaries, practices, and consequences of public drug use from the 1970s until the present with a focus on American and European cities. Across three evening roundtables, cultures of drug consumption are interwoven into public spaces, everyday lives, and public memories of cities will be addressed, bringing together expert activists, scholars, and workers on public health, narcotic cultures, and archival politics from the US, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

During the evening events, 1014 will also present part of the Narcotic City Archive – the first interactive archive to collect and preserve the material and immaterial heritage of narcotic use and governance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its launch in 2021, this innovative resource fosters knowledge, visibility, and engagement between researchers, activists, users, and a wider public.

Further information on the entire event series can be found here.