Liberatory Labels: Towards a Human Rights Labeling Framework

Robin Margolis



This presentation envisions the path toward more democratic accountability mechanisms governing law enforcement (LE) as requiring new approaches to classification, description, and indexing of audiovisual evidence. It focuses on the needs of low and no resourced community organizations and individuals seeking citizen-driven police accountability. It proposes a process for developing a human rights labeling framework and suggests some initial areas on which the labels should focus. The labeling framework aims to learn from the successes of the Creative Commons movement and the Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels created by Local Contexts. It looks to the human rights audiovisual evidence curricula and resources created by WITNESS and Activist Archivists as models for a pedagogical approach accessible to a range of activist and citizen groups. It understand the importance of the labels in their power to raise awareness of the different characteristics that make an audiovisual asset valuable as evidence or material for an advocacy campaign. Labels are seen as an aid to economically and logistically feasible indexing and cataloging of audiovisual evidence, whether citizen created, surveillance footage, or police generated. An ultimate goal is to facilitate a framework able to describe different types of documentation of law enforcement in interoperable terms.

The presentation will incorporate findings from an ongoing database project created in collaboration with Andrea Prichett, co-founder of Berkeley Copwatch, and Dr. Nikki Jones, Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley. The project provides a case study and provides context through the perspective of citizen monitoring of the police.



Robin Margolis is a current MLIS student specializing in Media Archival Studies at the UCLA School of Information Studies. He completed his B.A. in Media Studies at Pomona College. He approaches archives from a foundation as a teaching artist,
community organizer, and filmmaker, aiming to serve social movements both
emergent and ongoing. His research interests involve community-based archiving,
oral history in the digital age, personal digital archiving, archiving performance,
archives as a site for transmission of culture and political memory, and
revolutionary arts traditions. He has worked in the film industry and as a union researcher. He currently works as a production coordinator for Oral History Projects at the Academy Foundation and as a Reference Desk Assistant at the UCLA Music Library.