Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive Center
A place for community-centered archives work.
The Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive (OC&SEAA) Center provides a collaborative learning and event space, consultation and research support, and community-centered archives partnerships for UC Irvine, the Orange County California region, and the diasporic communities of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
We welcome partnerships with UC Irvine students, faculty and staff, the Orange County community, and those working to share the stories of the Southeast Asian diaspora. We trust in community expertise and lived experience as the impetus for building inclusive, community-centered archives.
The Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive (OC&SEAA) Center provides training and guidance related to the practice of oral history and historical documentation, rooted in the principles of community-centered archives partnerships. Our team of librarians and staff in the Department of Special Collections & Archives offers consultations, workshops, programming, and research support for the design and implementation of historical documentation, oral history, and preservation projects to empower communities in the process of telling and preserving their own histories.
The OC&SEAA is home to a flexible reading room space for teaching, events, and research. We work with our partners to curate exhibits, conduct oral history and digital history projects, and engage in collaborative initiatives to better preserve the memories and records of the UCI campus, the Orange County community, and the Southeast Asian diaspora.
Community-centered archives come into being through collaborative partnerships between mainstream archival institutions and communities that are underrepresented in the historical record. The goal is to empower communities in the process of telling and preserving their own histories. In a community-centered archive partnership, archival institutions like the UCI Libraries Special Collections & Archives, Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive Center are:
- Attentive to inequities reflected in archives
- An institution should seek to understand how communities have been misrepresented, absent, or maligned in historical documentation.
- Responsive to the community’s needs
- An institution must be flexible, adaptable, and take an iterative and ethical approach to responding to how community memory and evidence is preserved, described, and made accessible. This means being willing to bend and stretch how archival work is defined to reflect what matters to the community.
- Collaborative through shared authority
- In a community-centered approach, the institution focuses on shared authority, making decisions together and respecting the value, expertise, and perspective brought to the partnership by the community.
- Cognizant of the divergent priorities of communities
- Community-institution partnerships must vary depending on the needs of each community, from the level of involvement by specific contributors to decisions about what archival material to collect.
We trust in a community’s expertise and lived experience as the impetus for building impactful community-centered archives.