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DRI Community Archive Scheme

Community archives aim to give visibility to the stories and histories of specific cultures and communities that are often underrepresented in national or regional archives. Sometimes, these communities have been historically marginalised, and this marginalisation continues to reflect an underrepresentation in traditional memory institutions. The time, effort, and skill that goes into creating community-based archives is often undertaken by individuals or groups working on a voluntary basis or with little funding. 

As a publicly funded repository for Ireland’s social and cultural data, the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) believes it is important to make long-term preservation of digital materials open to a wide range of organisations, including those operating on a non-funded, voluntary basis. We value the publication of a diversity of datasets and collections and are committed to supporting community-based archival initiatives through sharing our digital preservation skills and profession-based knowledge. We, therefore, offer some associate memberships and all the related benefits, as part of our DRI Community Archive Scheme for the length of time it takes a group to add their collection to the Repository. You can hear Noel Sheerin from Tulsk History Society (one of two winners in 2022) describe the application process and how they worked with us to add their collection to the Repository on our Vimeo channel.

If you have any queries about the scheme you can email the DRI Membership Manager Lisa Griffith: 


Previous Awardees


DRI Community Archive Scheme Winner 2019

Cork LGBT Archive

Image: Cork LGBT Archive logo

Cork LGBT Archive was the inaugural winner of the DRI Community Archive Scheme Award. The Cork LGBT Archive aims to preserve and share information in relation to the rich history of Cork's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The collection has been preserved for long-term access in the Repository here: 

DRI Community Archive Scheme Winner 2020

Asylum Archive 

Image: Photograph of the exterior of Lissywollen Accommodation Centre, Athlone, taken in 2013

The 2020 winner was Asylum Archive. This collection includes almost 6,000 photographs, academic essays, audio interviews, and publications that document life under Direct Provision, collected by artist, activist, and scholar Vukašin Nedeljković, a former resident of a Direct Provision Centre. 

Cork Community Media Hub (formerly Frameworks Media and Archive Centre)

Cork Community Media Hub was also recognised in the Community Archive Scheme 2020. Cork Community Media Hub is a social enterprise in Cork City that provides services for the community in film-making, media production, and training. 

DRI Community Archive Scheme Winners 2021

Three community-based archive initiatives were chosen as the winners of the 2021 DRI Community Archive Scheme: The Elephant Collective, Dublin Ghost Signs, and Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee. The decision to award three 2021 DRI Community Archive Scheme recipients was in recognition of the exceptional standard of the winning applications and the significance of the collection material, which promises to enrich the digital cultural memory of Ireland. The decision was also informed by DRI’s commitment to playing our part during the COVID-19 crisis by offering extra preservation support for at-risk collections during this challenging time.

The Elephant Collective 

Image: Knitted quilt from The Elephant Collective Campaign launch, 2015

The Elephant Collective is a voluntary group of birth activists, educators, student midwives, and artists that worked with the parliamentarian Clare Daly MEP (then TD) from 2014 to 2019 to secure new legislation that would make inquests into all maternal deaths in Ireland both automatic and mandatory. In 2019, they succeeded in ensuring that the Coroners (Amendment) Act 2019 passed into legislation. The collection is a testament to the hard work of the campaigners and will be a rich resource for researchers, both nationally and internationally, who wish to learn more about the example set by Ireland as the first country in Europe to have passed specific legislation about maternal death inquests.

Dublin Ghosts Signs

Image: Faded ghost sign on Camden Street, Emma Clarke, Dublin Ghost Signs

Ghost signs are the old and typically hand-painted signs of advertisements and businesses that have closed their doors for the final time. In Dublin, these signs are everywhere – on walls, above buildings, and on tiled mosaic doorsteps. Dublin Ghost Signs is an online collection of Dublin’s old and fading signs which have stood the test of time. The collection will be a significant resource for history and sociology researchers and for anybody interested in visual collections which illustrate the changing landscape of a city. 

Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee

Image: Joe Lee (third right, front row) with a group from St Michael’s Estate Family Resource Centre at the Irish Museum of Modern Art 2001

Joe Lee is an independent film and video maker.  Since the early 2000s, Joe has been making a series of community-based films set in Dublin neighbourhoods that present a unique insight into the recent social history of the city from the 1980s onwards. These projects include: Dreams in the Dark (2002), Dark Room (2002), Inside Out Outside In Stories from O’Devaney Gardens (2007), Bananas On The Breadboard (2010), CityWide (2011), The Area (2012), Fortune Wheel (2015) and Barracks Square Estate (2017). The eight community-based films in Joe’s collection offer an important social and cultural history of Dublin and are especially relevant in terms of providing a record of oral histories of working-class Dublin communities. The Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee collection can be explored here:

DRI Community Archive Scheme 2022

Tulsk History Society

Image: Letters dating back to the 1890s found in the thatch of Kilgannon Cottage, Steil, Tulsk, Co. Roscommon

The Tulsk History Society (THS) is a non-profit community organisation based in County Roscommon which was founded in March 2021. THS aims to pursue and promote local social, cultural, political, and economic history, as well as local archaeology, antiquities, folklore, traditions, arts, crafts, and games. They also aim to collect, record, publish, and disseminate information on all aspects of local history. Since its foundation in March 2021, THS has already acquired a very comprehensive collection of documents, books, and photographs that are reflective of Tulsk’s local history, culture, and way of life. THS aims to preserve a small collection of 11 historically important letters dating back to the 1890s, which document Irish experiences of emigration to America. The letters provide valuable first-hand accounts of the opportunities afforded by the New World, but also the challenges faced by families during this time.

Bray Arts 

Image: Bray Arts members turning out for the Bloomsday festivities in 2011

Bray Arts was founded in 1996 as a forum for both arts practitioners and anyone with an interest in the arts. It was set up to provide emerging artists with opportunities to showcase and present their work in a supportive and appreciative environment and to provide a forum for discussion, lobbying, and campaigning for the Arts in Bray. Bray Arts has accumulated a substantial collection of written and photographic records of its activities over the years, embracing artists, writers, and performers from Bray and the surrounding communities of Wicklow and South County Dublin. The written collection comprises over 92 Bray Arts Journals and 38  shorter Bulletins. Bray Arts has also accumulated a large collection of photographs of artists, writers, performers, and attendees at the Bray Arts evenings.

DRI Community Archive Scheme 2023

Dublin Digital Radio

Image: ddr poster for the 2020 event 'An Avant Gard Public Service Broadcaster' designed by Emma Conway

Dublin Digital Radio (ddr) is an award-winning, online community radio station representing a wealth of alternative music, art, and politics across Ireland. ddr is wholly funded by its members, composed of listeners and broadcasters alike. Over the past six years of broadcasting, ddr has amassed a rich archive of radio shows, innovative sound art, and radio plays, as well as recordings of their annual music festival Alternating Current. Their collections will provide future generations with an invaluable insight into Irish sound cultures and community radio during a particular time and place.

Application Process

The DRI Community Archive Scheme is open for applications September to October annually. It is closed for the current year but if you are interested in applying at a future date please get in touch. We will keep your details on file and notify you when the scheme opens again. The scheme is managed by DRI's membership manager