Archives & Intersectionality: Linking the Personal to the Professional–Panel from AMIA 2018, Portland, OR

The panel that I presented this year at the annual AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) Conference in Portland, Or. As a longtime member, I have been trying to get a panel accepted for many years but social justice and moving image archives have not always…been seen as congruent. I have always always always believed that you cannot discuss one without the other. They are the reel to the film. The lens to the projector. The 1 to the 0 (in digital).

This year I was HONORED to have some of the most talented and amazing colleagues and friends I know come to speak with me on the most meaningful and important issues within our community: issues of race, gender, sexuality, personal identity, and power and how these have influenced their work, their lives and their experiences as moving image archivists. Two of my panelists you may have met previously if you are a regular Archivist’s Alley listener: Brendan Lucas is the Outfest Legacy Project Manager and you would have heard him on my Outfest Legacy Project Managers episode!  Erica Lopez is continually referred to on this show due to her amazing work with the Fuentes Collection and discussion on Latinx home movies as we discuss here. Ina Archer is INCREDIBLY BUSY so I haven’t gotten her on the show, but it will happen! But she is an incredible writer, artist and is now a media conservator at The Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC). You can check her out here.

Please forgive me on the video quality. It was recorded off my laptop because my actual camera decided it didn’t want to play nice. But you can hear everything except the young woman’s question at the very end (apologies) who was asking about some international issues and terms like diversity and inclusion and…I don’t think that my response was very good. I spoke with her afterwards and we sorted things out. I feel a little awkward about that! Thanks to Brendan for taking the mic and repeating the other announcement during the short Q&A bit.

I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions or would like to follow up on this, plan a panel with me or discussion on this kind of conversation with me (I already have some in my head) or would like to get in touch with my guests to tell them how amazing they are…feel free to contact me at archivistsalley@gmail.com

Anna St. Onge: Archival Labor, Community Content & Refocusing the Archival Narrative

Speaking to Anna was an absolute joy. We covered topics as diverse as Nice White Lady-ism to Open Source journal to language translation in cataloging. We also spoke at length about the challenges of getting funding when you’re not doing the kind of work that Big Money people care about and why it’s critically important to keep doing the work that Big Money people don’t seem to care about.

Anna is doing incredible work at York University and is a key figure of positive change, calling for high levels of care and attention for indigenous Canadian communities that York works with and looking to make certain  that the labor within her scope is fair and just. Her work and clear and ethical structure of archival outreach and development is one that I hope to see reflected in more archival organizations, especially in the United States. AND SOON. Please enjoy.

As usual, bio and links are below the episode link! I recommend you check them out!!


Bio:

Anna St.Onge is an archivist who is currently Director of Digital Scholarship Infrastructure at York University Libraries. She holds a B.A. in History and Celtic Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Information Studies degree from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Archival Studies and Book History & Print Culture. She was previously a certified Nice White LadyTM but is working hard to undo decades of social programming.

Links:

The Portuguese Canadian History Project

 

Toronto Telegram Newspaper Photograph Collection, link to finding aid: 

 

York University Libraries bots (randomly posts from our DAM which is made up predominantly of scanned photographic negatives of the Toronto Telegram – created by my colleague Nick Ruest) –

YUDL bot (general holdings)

YUDL cat

YUDL dog

 

Home Made Visible – a project of the Regent Park Film Festival:

Patricia Ledesma Villon: The Challenges of Home Movies & the Complexity of Asian American Representation

This episode is the official Home Movie Day episode and it is extremely exciting! As you may recall, other guests have discussed the critical value of home movies. The exceptional Snowden Becker  was a guest and she is one of the actual founders of Home Movie Day, Erica Lopez came on and spoke on her vital and unique work on Mexican home movies, and Lynne Kirste  was a guest and we examined the way classic Hollywood depicted themselves in the home movie genre and why those films are such incredible gems in their own right.

I couldn’t be more excited to have Patricia Ledesma Villon be representing and speaking about home movies for Home Movie Day, 2018. In my eyes, she is exactly what the archiving and library world should be embracing and looking for in their new hires and future generations. If you are an employer reading this, take my advice: the qualities Patricia has are those you want. Passion, honesty, conviction and dedication.

As she and I discuss on the show, home movies are not simple nor are they just about fun nostalgia. Many times they are incredibly challenging and they can produce great discomfort in the viewer. This is one of the very important aspects of this moving image genre.

When home movies are shown, class, culture and representation are key elements and should always be part of the presentation. Yet this is rarely done. Home movie texts can always be enjoyed on the basis of narrative or nostalgic pleasure- they are so much fun and so pleasurable to watch– but it does them a disservice to deny their complex historicism and social meaning. Patricia’s work as an intern with CAAM and her own archival scholarship stand out in this manner as she introduces powerful ways of examining these critical moving image works, especially vis-a-vis Asian American communities.

Finally, although we touched on the importance of hiring people of color during our discussion, Patricia emailed me afterwards to emphasize that we should highlight black, indigenous, queer and disabled archivists in our community, especially as we remember the cultural significance of Home Movie Day.

Her bio & some REALLY TERRIFIC links are below, as usual. Hope your Home Movie Day rocks!!

PATRICIA LEDESMA VILLON is an archivist based in Oakland, California. A Bay Area native, she has worked for several Asian media nonprofits in the area. Patricia most recently interned at the Philippine Film Archive (formerly known as the National Film Archive of the Philippines) where she digitally restored a short film submitted to the 2017 Short Film Festival of Switzerland. She is currently interning at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) where she works on Memories to Light, a project preserving the home movies of Asian American families on Super 8, 8mm and 16mm formats. She received her B.A. in media from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of Low Light Darkroom and Black Hole Collective Film Lab, a DIY member-run analog still image and motion film collective.

 
Here are some links:
 
About Low Light Darkroom and Black Hole Collective Film Lab: https://lowlightblackholelab.org/
 
About Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/
 
Kip Fulbeck’s home movie collection featuring Santa’s Village on Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/2015/12/30/throwback-thursday-kip-fulbecks-santas-village-visit-in-1972/
 
Dawn Bohulano Mabalon’s home movie collection featuring Stockton’s Little Manila on Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/project/bohulano-family-collection/
 
African American Museum & Library’s “Representing Ourselves: Black Home Movies for All Audiences” on Home Movie Day Saturday, October 20 from – 2:00-4:00pm: http://oaklandlibrary.org/events/african-american-museum-library-oakland/home-movie-day

 

 

Episode 6: Erica Lopez- Mexican American Home Movies, Being “Seen,” and Gauging Class in Amateur Films

The best thing to come out of the last election was that I met Erica Lopez.

As you’ll learn about in the first few minutes of this week’s episode, we met at the AMIA conference in Pittsburgh, PA. It was November of 2016.


 

 

The sad thing was that the actual conference was amazing. Some of the best panels I’ve ever experienced at AMIA. But we were all so goddamn numb because of the election results that we were somewhere between zombie, “Is this real life?” and wanting to go to sleep forever or the next 4 years (whichever came first).

But I met Erica Lopez and her badass partner-in-archivey-action Caroline Oliveira and I was so thrilled. These women were my kinda ladies!!!!! These women were still students and considerably younger than me but I was so excited to find women who were just as passionate about the field as I was in a positive and pro-active way!

Obviously I kept in touch with both women.

Erica got in touch with me earlier this year and told me what her thesis was going to be about and I was floored. Her title, as presented at the end of March, is Mi Voz: Latin@ Self-Representation in Home Moviesand this was the description that was posted in the schedule for NYU MIAP thesis presentations. “The portrayal of Latin@s in the media has been constructed by stereotypes that attempt to suppress their voice. This thesis will focus on home movies of Latin@s, primarily on Mexican-American/ Xican@ communities. These movies challenge, threaten and question stereotypes of  Latin@s because these are images of self-representation. This thesis will look at different collections of home movies, specifically looking at the content, film format, the year they were shot and the year they were acquired in a cultural institution. The thesis will also consider how this community is represented in metadata since Mexican-American, Latin@, Hispan@, and Xican@ are labels that connote problematic issues. The thesis will end with a case study on The Fuentes Collection of home movies, which has been added to the National Film Registry’s list. After giving an historical background of the Fuentes family, I will discuss how they represent life in a border-town-space.”

I genuinely love home movies but let’s get real: the ones that most people see and the stereotype of the “Home Movie” is pretty damn white.

Home Movies are not white. Looking at those in the US, they are African American. They are Japanese American. They are Mexican American. They are Italian American. They are Pilipino American. So why do we just imagine blond babies toddling by the Christmas tree while Dad drinks a beer when we consider the “home movie”?

Erica Lopez is subverting the dominant paradigm by saying: I’m looking at Mexican Home Movies, movies that people have been ignoring. Films that have been sitting there because they are of people of color, cultures who have systematically disparaged and considered “less than” by a structure that still requires fixing. Erica Lopez is a critical scholar in this area. She did exactly what archival professionals are supposed to do: she saw a void in our field and said, “Oh hell no. I’m gonna fix that!”

Full disclosure: Erica is one of my best friends. So of course I’m going to say amazing things about her. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to praise her scholarship or social justice passion if it wasn’t present. That would not fit my ethical guidelines for myself and how I live my life.

I invite you to listen to this podcast that I did with a woman who continues to impress me the longer I know her. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I know we enjoyed doing it.

Erica’s Bio:

My name is Erica Gloria López. I am a graduate student at NYU Moving Image and Archiving Preservation program. I’ll be graduating this May, hopefully, so the pressure is on to join the ‘professional’ world is scary, for many reasons, and obvious ones. Growing up in a Mexican family, living in America, was an experience that with time and experiences, has influenced my life. I never thought I would be an archivist, let alone, ever imagined finishing school at my age, 35, since I did not go to college after High School. I was too busy going to punk shows and dancing to 80s music in Downtown LA. But, for some odd reason, I stumbled across this program. It’s been one of my biggest life challenges, and the most rewarding.

Check out The Fuentes Collection:  http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php/Category:The_Fuentes_Collection

 

Episode 1: Siobhan Hagan and MARMIA

Welcome to the first episode of Archivist’s Alley!

Please enjoy this conversation with one of my dearest companions in moving image archiving and preservation. Siobhan Hagan is a SUPERSTAR in the field and a women that I continue to be inspired by.

Her continued work on MARMIA is truly astounding and I hope that you all love listening to her talk about it as much as I enjoyed talking to her about it!

 Fall in love with MARMIA & donate some funds to support this important women-led institution!

Here is MARMIA’s website: https://marmia.org/

Here is MARMIA’s channel on the Internet Archive:  https://archive.org/details/marmia

And click here to donate some monies to this badass place!

 

Here is a little background on Siobhan:

Siobhan was born and raised in Maryland and holds her M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked in a variety of collecting organizations throughout her career, including the UCLA Library and the National Aquarium. She is currently contracting at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and is also active in the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA): she is a co-chair of the Regional Audio-Visual Archives Committee and a co-chair of the Local TV Task Force, and was an AMIA Director of the Board from 2015-2017.

Here are a few of the clips that we talked about in the podcast:

Investigative report on blockbusting:

https://archive.org/details/WJZ-QUAD-01

 

One of Oprah’s first acting gigs: https://archive.org/details/WJZ-PAT-001-006