WHY THE MUSLIMS IN CANADA ARCHIVES (MiCA) EXISTS
The chance to tell your story in your own words is power.
For a very long time, Canadian Muslim communities have had their representations, stories, and identities shaped by mainstream media, overwhelmingly non-Muslim and burdened with narratives of terrorism, war, violence, Islamophobia, and extremism. To talk back to such narratives is to take back the reins of representation, and create the possibility of a more robust, diverse, and representative account of Muslims in Canada. As our environmental scan has already shown, the need for such an archive is paramount in Canada.
The time is now for Muslims in Canada to seize their narrative power.
WHAT WE DO
Collect: We acquire the records of Muslim individuals, families or organizations in Canada to document the history of Muslims in Canada. Of course, not all of their records have enduring value or fit within the mandate and collection priorities of the MiCA Acquisitions Policy. We’ll assess the records for their historical and archival value, and select the ones we’ll acquire for MiCA based largely on a thorough understanding of the surrounding context of the records’ creation, the MiCA Acquisitions Policy, and whether the records may be more suitable for another archives.
Organize: Once we have the records, we’ll arrange and describe them according to both professional archival best practices and community needs so that they can be easily found and understood by all users.
Preserve: Not all records are in the best shape, especially if they’ve been sitting in a basement for 20+ years. Similarly, archival materials are usually unique and sometimes even rare – there often only exists one copy of a single record in the world. As a result, MiCA will take necessary steps to ensure the protection and preservation of the records it acquires for potential use in the future.
Make Accessible: MiCA will provide access to the records in its archives both physically and, where applicable, digitally on its online platforms. Although some records may be subject to restrictions based on applicable laws, MiCA’s discretion, or donor wishes, MiCA’s holdings are otherwise open to a wide breadth of users: historians, students, researchers, activists, community members, artists, and so on. Similarly, MiCA may also use the records in its holdings to create exhibitions, organize awareness and outreach initiatives or to educate classes, organizations, students, and more.
HOW WE DO IT
As a community archive, we place the needs and voices of the people we serve at the centre of our activities. MiCA has been developed in close consultation with various Muslim communities to represent the range of diversity amongst Canadian Muslims.
We also consult with archival organizations and industry associations to ensure that our services uphold professional standards and best practices, while meeting the unique needs of the communities we serve.
Outreach & Education
We develop programming and educational resources to inform our communities and stakeholders about the value of archives and the significant role it plays in documenting our rich histories.
We’re excited about the opportunities to expand our outreach and education programming to new horizons in 2021 with schools, community centres, and record creators.
We pursue key partnerships that enable MiCA to document the rich histories of Muslims in Canada. Our partnerships are developed to support our various activities from the logistics of storage to the academic resources afforded by the University of Toronto. MiCA is grateful to its committed partners.
Grants & Funding
The MiCA project is grateful for the grants and funding it receives from its providers. As a community archive, we pursue funding from various sources: governmental, civic society, and private.
In 2021, we will be strengthening our funding program to secure an increase in staff, resources, and record capacity to make MiCA a permanent fixture of our cultural landscape.
If you’re interested in funding opportunities for MiCA, please visit our funding page here.
The ways in which MiCA operates are reflected in the policies below. These documents provide an inside look into our processes as well as the principles that guide our practice.
In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we have made some of these policies open to the public. As an archives that centers community consultation and participation in its praxis, MiCA’s policies and procedural documents exist to both guide MiCA staff and to ensure that Canadian Muslim communities are informed of how we preserve their legacies.
The policies below are flexible and subject to change as MiCA operates.
Acquisition Policy – Updated as of April 2020
Protocols of Practice – Updated as of October 2020
Statement on Language in Description – Updated as of November 2020
MiCA Operations Under the COVID-19 Pandemic – Updated as of November 2020
MiCA Deed of Gift – coming soon
MiCA is a collaborative project involving Canadian individuals, universities, and community organizations working in concert to preserve a diverse and wide-ranging history that is currently not reflected in Canada’s documentary heritage. The IIS is pleased to partner with the following community, archival, and academic institutions to develop and launch MiCA:
- Archives Ontario
- Black Muslim Initiative (BMI)
- Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW)
- The Inspirit Foundation
- Library and Archives Canada
- Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUN)
- Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MANAL)
- National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM)
- The Tessellate Institute (TTI)
- Université Laval (LavalU)
- The University of Toronto Libraries
Moska Rokay is the Digital Humanities Research Fellow tasked with coordinating the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA) at the IIS. Moska’s research interests lie in the interdisciplinary crossroads of archives, critical race & ethnicity, digital ethics, and identity formation in diaspora communities of war and trauma. She is an advocate for activist archives that center reflexivity and reciprocity, and are community-facing. She completed her Master of Information (UofT) and defended her MI thesis in 2019. She is the recipient of the Association of Canadian Archivists New Professional Award as well as their Archivaria Gordon Dodds Student Paper Prize, both for 2020.
Advisors & Mentors
MiCA is currently open to advisors and mentors who can offer relevant skills, capacities, or experiences to the project.
If interested, please email: moska[dot]rokay[at]utoronto[dot]ca
MiCA Coordinator & Digital Humanities Research Fellow
Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto
Dr. Anver Emon
Director, Institute of Islamic Studies
University of Toronto