Critical Archives & Curation Collaborative (co/lab) – UArizona iSchool’s newest research lab

iSchool professors Jamie Lee and Zack Lischer-Katz in the Co/Lab

The School of Information or iSchool has launched a new lab, the co/lab: the Critical Archives & Curation Collaborative. The lab, co-led by Professors Jamie A. Lee and Zack Lischer-Katz, furthers iSchool’s mission to “explore the intersections of people, data and technology, and through information enable a diverse, equitable and inclusive future.” .

The goal of the Co/Lab is to encourage and support cutting-edge information and archival studies research that critically engages with archival contexts – across community and institutional archives, materials and practices, including critical curating of collections and artifacts in digital and analogue formats.

The Co/Lab is both a physical space and a virtual community that provides social and technical resources for the transdisciplinary study of digital curation, archiving and archival contexts, and emerging conservation practices on the University of Arizona campus, the US-Mexico border areas, and throughout South provides Arizona.

Located within the iSchool, the Co/Lab provides resources for digital storytelling, analysis of embodied archival practices and other memory and knowledge production, and engagement with the materiality of archival artifacts through analog and digital media technologies. A focus on power and the technical and epistemic work of archival work and digital curation form the basis for research in the lab.

The co/lab promotes critical archival research and curation through a range of initiatives and research projects through:

Providing research tools for engaging with the body and materiality of archival formats, including digital storytelling and audiovisual equipment, digital forensic and digital curation software and hardware, and outdated media devices for media archaeological investigations. Exploring new archival formats and practices, including digital storytelling, non-institutional and community archives, 3D, VR/AR, volumetric video and other new media formats, through seminars and collaborative grant-funded projects. Building a network of local and global researchers to encourage and support collaboration between researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Fostering interdisciplinary critical inquiry through seminars and publications on issues related to the care and preservation of visual and other forms of multisensory information. Providing pedagogical opportunities for students with research-related practical experiences in archival contexts, multimodal media productions and digital curation and preservation.

Please contact Lee or Lischer-Katz if you would like to visit the Co/Lab or discuss potential research collaborations: [email protected]

About the research of Jamie A. Lee

As an interdisciplinary scholar of critical archival studies, gender and sexuality studies, and multimodal media production/oral history, Lee’s research is concerned both with the in-depth study of these disparate realms and with documenting the cultural aspects of these often overlooked intersecting spaces of power in structured disciplinary research. They are interested in social changes and ask difficult questions. As a documentary filmmaker and founder of Arizona’s first LGBTQI archives, the Arizona Queer Archives (, her research is inspired and informed by these sites of practice and inquiry. For more information on Lee’s research, visit

About the research of Zack Lischer-Katz

Lischer-Katz examines the curation and preservation of visual information formats such as virtual reality, 3D, video and film. Current projects include exploring curation tools and techniques for 3D and volumetric formats, and investigating the accessibility challenges of virtual reality technologies for disabled users in academic libraries. At the co/lab he conducts interdisciplinary research on data collection practices, digital curation and media preservation techniques; critical and material analysis of tools and artifacts used to support data curation, digital forensics, visual analysis, and media preservation in diverse research and institutional contexts; and research on the material practices of digitization work and the role that sociotechnical systems and standards play in the construction of knowledge in conservation work. You can learn more about his research at