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The Future is an Archive in the Making:

Poet in Residence 

The Unsuspecting Archive: A conversation with Alannah Johnson and Jonsaba Jabbi of Building A Black Archive

Thursday October 13th, 7-8PM, online via Zoom webinar

Join us for a conversation with archivists Alannah Johnson and Jonsaba Jabbi of the grassroots community initiative, Building A Black Archive (BABA). In this talk, Johnson and Jabbi will explore the ways in which Black Canadian cultural production in the entertainment landscape of the 2000s has inspired the notion of the “unsuspecting archive,” defined as the act of archiving histories unaware of their future impact or presence. Looking at music videos and TV shows like Baby Blue Soundcrew’s “Money Jane” and Trey Anthony’s 'da Kink in my Hair, Johnson and Jabbi will discuss how Black Canadian artists captured the visual culture and essence of a Black Toronto that no longer exists.


Please note: this event is reserved for people who identify as a member in the Black community. Registration is required.



The Future is an Archive in Making: Poet-in-Residence is made possible with the generous support of TD Bank Group.

Archival photo of the Yonge Street Uprising taken by Mike Slaughter for the Toronto.

Archival photo curated by BABA of the Yonge Street Uprising taken by Mike Slaughter for the Toronto Star, in 1992. Image from the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive.


The Future is an Archive in the Making: Poet-in-Residence  reimagines the archive as a source of poetic investigation. TPW invites emerging writers and archivists Jonsaba Jabbi and Alannah Johnson of Building a Black Archive (BABA), who ask, "how do you remember a place that doesn’t exist anymore? And how do you visualize its Black future?” Working in collaboration with Black youth in Ontario, BABA will explore and document the process and poetics of building archives. The residency will culminate with a public program in 2022. 


Building A Black Archive (BABA) is a grassroots community initiative dedicated to building Black archives in Canada and the African Diaspora. Their work includes writing, consulting, archival research and collaboration as well as running a community archival program engaging Black youth ages 18-29 to build archives through writing, podcasting and more.

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