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Guardians of Memory

Working as though everything depended on you: the delicate, dangerous task of preserving religious manuscripts in conflict zones

In August 2021, Fred Bahnson accompanied Father Columba Stewart, a Benedictine monk dedicated to preserving religious texts in zones of conflict, to Gao, Mali. One year later, Bahnson and Stewart reflect on their journey in terms both spiritual and tangible. Stewart tells the story of his life’s work and details the importance of digitizing texts—regardless of faith—and of forming human connections across religious boundaries to overcome historical bias and inaccuracy. Bahnson and Stewart delve into their shared interest in the role of memory in a digital world and the dangers that arise when we undervalue listening.

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December 2016

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