Digitized Diasporic Memory

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Candide Uyanze

Digitized Diasporic Memory: Leveraging User-Generated and Open Tools for Collective Audio Storytelling is my graduate thesis project conceived during my Master of Design (MDes) in Digital Futures at OCAD University. It explores the relationship, intersections, connections, and divergences of experiences between Black diasporic people. With an understanding of diaspora as networked, rhizomatic, and tentacled, the project seeks to create a space for connection, in an environment where connection is not easily accessed or sustained.

The thesis draws heavily from Le Cunff's idea of personal networked thinking and expands into collective thinking, or what can be described as mind-to-mind networks, wherein several individuals connect their ideas.

Digitized Diasporic Memory can be described as a...

  • database
  • conversational archive
  • open-access library
  • collective memory bank
  • non-linear interactive documentary
  • digitized memory
  • chain of memories

The project brings to the fore the possible connections between Black diasporic experiences and narratives. It addresses the need for intra-diasporic validation, belonging, understanding across differences, and knowledge-sharing.

Collective Audio Storytelling:
Relational Database

As part of the thesis project, a month-long study was conducted with seven people of African descent residing on Turtle Island: Joyce Tshiyoyo, Yvonne Mpwo, Philippe Kakana, Patricia Kanana Mwenda, Kahmaria Pingue, Solange L Tungu, and Candide Uyanze. We met for a series of workshops and remote audio recording sessions where they developed prompts and shared memories. These audio segments were submitted to a collaborative database, allowing other participants to respond to each other both synchronously and asynchronously. Participants engaged in cross-cultural sense-making, building upon the previous speaker’s remarks with reference points from our respective cultures.

The relational nature of the database allows audience members to understand the relationships between different audio submissions. In the end, over a 130 audio segments from ~2hrs of recording were catalogued in the database. The audio recordings are licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 and have been made available for download.

Access the database →

Thesis Output:
Networked Memory

As a result of the study, a network graph, dubbed "Diasporic Memory", was created to illustrate the connections between the audio recordings. Each node represents an audio segment from a participant, and the edges represent a link between segments. "Diaspora Memory" debuted at the 2022 Digital Futures Thesis Exhibition (Dual Exposure) and is also available online (works best on desktop).

Access the memory ↗

Thesis Document


Download the thesis document ↓

View the thesis on OCAD U's repository ↗