Marije Miedema

Rethinking the future of a common Personal Digital Archive through co-creation

Centre for Digital Humanities & Department of Knowledge Infrastructures, Faculty of Arts & Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen,

Supervisors: Prof. Dr Susan Aasman, Prof. Dr Anne Beaulieu, Dr Sabrina Sauer


After obtaining my Fine Arts degree from Academy Minerva, creating site-specific audiovisual installations questioning the relation between the human body and digital technologies, I began with the pre-master Arts, Cognition and Criticism followed by the Research Master Arts, Media, and Literary Studies. During this time, I also worked as a research assistance for an ethnographic research project, resulting in a co-authored book chapter. After graduating cum laude with the master thesis The Performance of Smart Home Technology in Everyday Life: a Digital Material Engagement Perspective on a Smart Toothbrush, I worked as a seminar instructor in the BA Media Studies.


Who should determine the future of our past? Personal digital material is currently mostly preserved through commercially driven technologies. This is worrying, for although it may seem that these privately-owned cloud services are spaces where our precious pictures will exist forever, long-term sustainable archiving practices are not these service providers’ primary concern. This research project explores an alternative approach to sustainable everyday archival data management; establishing a public-private-civic collaboration to cocreate a dynamic and commonly governed open-source infrastructure, securing our personal memories. The theoretical and methodological framework is positioned between Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Digital Humanities (DH). The integration of these two disciplines allows us to map the infrastructure of the personal digital archive and concurrently critically contextualise it.

The project combines different types of inquiry to include three epistemologically different parties in three overlapping stages. First, ethnographic interviews with ethical technology designers and experts from public heritage institutions are conducted to discuss infrastructural concerns. In the second stage, the individual practices of the PDA are observed in situ with different user groups (adolescents, young families, elderly). Finally, representatives from the three parties will participate in a co-creation workshop to actively shape the processes of both content and context of the PDA. By producing new insights and offering concrete tools from a critical data and infrastructural perspective, my aim is to contribute to the academic and societal debate around a human-centred digital future.


Strandvad, S., Miedema, M., Schram, N. (Forthcoming; 2022). Same same but different? Rerouting artists to cultural entrepreneurship through a creative business support program. In
E. Andersson Cederholm., K. Lindqvist, P. Warkander, I. de Wit Sandström (Eds.), Creative Work: Myths, Conditions and Contexts