DiscoverLost Voices: An Untold Story of the South Asian Diaspora
Lost Voices: An Untold Story of the South Asian Diaspora
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Lost Voices: An Untold Story of the South Asian Diaspora

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Four podcast episodes focusing on ideas around archiving practices used by South Asians to collect, preserve and reconstruct family and community histories. Join host Alisha Sawhney on a journalistic inquiry into the South Asian diaspora, featuring interviews and stories from a range of brown female voices.
5 Episodes
Alisha reflects on her investigation into archiving sparked by the Gwillim Archive and draws on her experiences as a journalist to help reframe the value of these letters and paintings from colonial-era India. To close out the podcast, Alisha turns to the present day, thinks about how we talk about lived experience and asks: Where does the responsibility lie in news organizations to make sure new voices are telling stories? Alisha is joined by Arti Patel, the co-founder of Didihood and a senior producer at CBC. Sahaj Kohli returns to discuss resilience. Do we need to be loud for our stories to be believed and how does that impact how these stories are archived? Sahaj and Alisha talk about the challenges of finding spaces where we can be believed without having to prove ourselves. Will these spaces spawn new archival opportunities to rethink our relationship with history and storytelling? Can the Gwillim Archive serve as a starting point for deeper reflection on how to bring more diverse voices into our interpretation of the past?  
Second-gen Canadians across the South Asian diaspora are documenting our rich histories in innovative and accessible ways, thereby creating digital archives of our own ancestries. These platforms are increasingly occupying space online, symbolizing the very purpose of their creation: that history, personal and shared, is multidimensional. It is an unspoken but concerted movement to democratize South Asian history and share narratives aging on the margins. How do digital archives shape memory? What does the future of archiving look like when examining archives from multiple perspectives? Alisha talks about this with Sonia Dhaliwal, a Data & Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Alisha is also joined by Tamara Khandaker, the host of ‘Nothing Is Foreign,’ a world news show from CBC Podcasts, to discuss the parallels between oral storytelling and audio storytelling in today's saturated media landscape.  
How did The Gwillim Project become a valuable piece of research in the first place? Who decides what archival material is valuable anyway, and what qualifies as an archive? Alisha explores these questions with Lauren Williams, a librarian in the Rare Books and Special Collections department at McGill. Dr. Toolika Gupta, the director of the Indian Institute of Crafts & Design, sheds light on the value of female Indian perspectives in this research. Are social media companies, like Pinterest and Instagram, complicit in shaping our views about history? Alisha explores our inherent need to document and collect, and the role social media plays in determining the value of historical sites. 
How do we, millennials, and the Canadian South Asian diaspora more broadly, archive life online? What would historians say about the digital remnants we leave behind about ourselves on social media, say, 100 years from now? Alisha introduces us to The Gwillim Project — a body of research housed at McGill University that offers us a glimpse into the letters and paintings from two British sisters living in Madras, India around 1800. Follow along as she pieces together parts of her own hyphenated identity by examining the role social media and other digital platforms play in the informal archiving and preservation of our day-to-day lives and stories. She's joined by Olivia Bowden, a national news writer at CTV News; Shetu Modi, a video producer at ET Canada; and Sahaj Kohli, founder of Brown Girl Therapy.
A podcast focusing on ideas around archiving practices used by South Asians to collect, preserve and reconstruct family and community histories. These topics are viewed through a journalistic inquiry and interviews, and driven by South Asian female voices.
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