Congratulations to professor Naomi Norquay who was awarded the Hugh Taylor Prize earlier this summer for her article, “An Accidental Archive of the Old Durham Road: Reclaiming a Black Pioneer Settlement,” which appeared in Archivaria 81 (Spring 2016).
The citation for professor Norquay’s article reads written by an “accidental archivist,” this article is a fascinating, personal investigation of a disappeared community and its remaining textual, oral and material traces. Through her evocative prose, Norquay challenges the limitations of the official archive by turning to “the land as archival document,” both in a literal and a metaphorical sense. Norquay musters a range of scholarship including curriculum/education theory, archaeology, autobiographical studies, Black Canadian studies and Ann Cvetkovich’s idea of the “archive of feelings” and ties it neatly and specifically to elements of her case study. The reader is easily persuaded to look more closely at the recordness of seemingly unassuming material traces, arriving at an emotive (not merely rational) recognition of the limitations of traditional concepts of records and archives. This quietly beautiful article clearly demonstrates how enriching moving beyond the boundaries of a single discipline can be.
The Hugh A. Taylor Prize was established in 2006 to honour the doyen of Canadian archival thinkers whose wide range of scholarly publications sparked the Canadian archival imagination. The prize is awarded annually to the author of the Archivaria article that presents new ideas or refreshing syntheses in the most imaginative way, especially by exploring the implications of concepts or trends from other disciplines for archival thinking and activity, and by extending the boundaries of archival theory in new directions.