Episode 9: It’s My Birthday! Meet My Mom, Enid Kent Sperber!

I turn 40 tomorrow, May 20th.

My mom asked me what I wanted to do.

I decided that I wanted to record a podcast with her.

So I did.

I have some shouts out to some folks in here that inspired me to become who I am. Check it out.

But to be honest, every guest that is on here inspires the hell out of me.

My mom, Enid Kent Sperber, is amazing & I love her. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Archivist’s Alley will be back in June with Pride Month!

Episode 8: Rachel E. Beattie – Canada, Community and Cinema!

My friend Rachel is the best.

From our first connection working together on the AMIA Diversity Committee (SO MANY CONFERENCE CALLS WHERE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SHE LOOKED LIKE….JUST “CANADIAN”) to a constant teammate at the AMIA Trivia Night, Rachel has been and continues to be a treasure.

I look forward to pictures of her Oscar parties every year because the food names are always good (she and her friends name them after the year’s movies…including the shorts!).

She has a sitting apparatus in her home named Judy Bench. You just can’t get much cooler than that.

And yet…..You totally can.


Rachel is absolutely critical to this community of memory work, media appreciation and preservation. She and I are both GIANT fans of three things: social justice, archiving and film festivals/film exhibition. These make her both an amazing woman, a great archivist and a wonderful friend.

Within this episode, you will hear us chat about David Cronenberg, TIFF, AFI fest, Nollywood, White Privilege and the OMFG!!!!!!!!! work that she does with her colleagues at University of Toronto’s Media Commons Media Archives. And so. much. more. Please enjoy the episode and all the links and media that Rachel has so graciously provided!!!

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel E. Beattie is an assistant media archivist at University of Toronto’s Media Commons Media Archives. She is a white settler working on the traditional territories of the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and Huron Indigenous Peoples and works to acknowledge all the privilege that entails. She is also the chair of the Sound and Moving Image Special Interest Section of the Association of Canadian Archivists and the chair of the Community Engagement Committee at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. She is equally passionate about film, archives, and social justice.

Media Commons – https://mediacommons.library.utoronto.ca

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)- http://tiff.net

Film Reference Library (TIFF’s Library and Archives) – https://www.tiff.net/library/

Toronto’s year round documentary showcase and annual documentary film festival – Hot Docs – http://hotdocs.ca/

Barbara O’Leary’s Directed by Women project:  http://directedbywomen.com/

the Patreon to support Directed by Women:  https://www.patreon.com/barbaraannoleary

The trailer for Sweet Country, which TOTALLY rules & you all should check it out!!!

The trailer for the fabulous woman-directed film that Rai & I are obsessed with from Myanmar…

This movie is one that IS UNREAL. I must see this again & highly recommend. Rachel & I haven’t stopped talking about I AM NOT A WITCH since she saw it at TIFF & I saw it at AFI.

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 5: Elena Colón-Marrero, Digital Preservation, Forensics and Creating Your Own Field

 

Every episode of this podcast gets more exciting to me but I think having this conversation with Elena was deeply personal in a way that I never expected it to be. We’ve been Twitter pals for some time and I knew that she worked with Jarrett Drake so she already had major bonafides there. But I’m always really nervous when I go to talk to people about digital preservation because I’m still learning SO MUCH.

In my last job, they thought I knew a LOT more than I did about digital materials. I told them I didn’t at the very beginning but they didn’t seem to get it? It was a disaster. So I get really nervous about the idea of what I do/don’t know and how that comes across. Part of the reason I started Archivist’s Alley was to help myself better understand some of the things that I don’t completely “get” in the areas of preservation that I know BRAINBURSTINGLY INCREDIBLE people in.

Elena went beyond what I ever would have expected or thought. The work that she is doing and how she is going about it is revolutionary and our conversation left me jumping up and down and super excited. I hope that you get that from this.

One of the most (if not THE most) difficult things to do in preservation is to discover a void or area that has not been worked on/with and then go for it. This is what Elena Colón-Marrero is doing. When you have little to no research or previous work to assist you, it can be the hardest thing in the world and LONELY AS HELL. But it’s also super freeing because it means YOU are the one to develop the field. Period.

I can’t say that I’ve had that experience with something as complex as digital preservation but I MOST CERTAINLY have had the experience of wanting to do less traditional preservation work than your average bear. My entire career has been spent searching for those voids in our field. It’s very exciting work but GOOD GRIEF. It’s exhausting and frustrating and sometimes you feel like you’ve got 2 strikes against you at all times. It is an exceptionally tough road to travel down. But it’s so worth it.

Clearly, Elena knew what formats she was going to work with from the VERY start.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to have this conversation about digital forensics, preservation, personal identity and the incredible work that this woman is doing.

Speaking of work, let me link you to some of her brilliance!

A short bio:

Elena Colón-Marrero is responsible for processing and reading the Museum’s digital collection with an emphasis on historic software objects. Colón-Marrero has a Master’s of Science in Information from the University of Michigan and B.A. in history from Christopher Newport University. Prior to joining the Museum, Elena was the 2015 John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Archival Fellow for Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.

Some of her written work:

Also, here is a link to the 2017 Core Magazine. On page 17 (pdf pg 19) you will find a great article entitled, “Preserving Software with Digital Forensics” that Elena wrote, highlighting her work at the Computer History Musuem. Check it out here:
Finally, here is the website for the ultra fabulous Computer History Museum! Go! Visit! Check it out! Tweet about it and join their social media pages!!

http://www.computerhistory.org/

Episode 3: Snowden Becker – Home Movies, Archives and Law Enforcement

It’s been a supercharged few weeks hasn’t it, friends?

Yeah.

I thought about delaying this episode a little longer because of the current climate and because of how hot everything is right now around discussions of people in positions of authority and guns and the madness. But since I don’t readily have a episode with a validly angry amazingly powerful teenager on hand, I think going with this episode is actually quite important and after careful consideration, it’s a good time for it.

Snowden Becker is probably one of my favorite women in the archiving field. The tragedy of this podcast is that you can’t see how INSANELY stylish she always is. This woman has the best shoes EVER and snappy outfits to match. She looks like she stepped right out of a George Cukor movie.

Then she begins to discuss a topic and it’s just as well-put together as the ensemble she showed up in. This is a woman who doesn’t bullshit, is constantly learning and teaching, and doesn’t waste time on subjects or interests that are not somehow connected to the idea of Being Better.

I was initially nervous when I heard that Snowden was working with the police on her examination of body worn cameras, since I firmly believe that established law enforcement in the US is structured in a way that favors Rich White Straight Men, causing People of Color to fear for their lives on a daily/hourly/minute-by-minute basis.  My conversation with Jarrett Drake on the last episode spoke to this when we chatted about his experiences with the on-campus guards.

THAT SAID, what Snowden is doing here is absolutely essential. While the subject sparks more emotions than an entire Beyonce album, the one thing to keep in mind is assessing this work needs to be done separately from having feelings about it. Both can (and should) be done, but one of the most useful aspects of this project is that, as Snowden says in this episode, she is leveraging her privilege to get something really accomplished here. AND IT IS VALUABLE.

I was incredibly lucky to have had Snowden as a professor. Her continued support has been invaluable to my career. She regularly and consistently makes it a point to lift others up, especially younger people just beginning in the field. Her work is not limited to the law enforcement examinations as you will see. In my opinion, her work is pretty limitless

Fun Snowden Becker Fact: She can knit like crazy, while asking challenging questions to a speaker at a conference who really did not see it coming. I’VE SEEN HER DO THIS. IT IS MAGICAL.

I highly recommend that you visit her website, follow her on Twitter and ask her any questions you wish to. She’s 100% one of *the* most approachable people.

Her current bio:

SNOWDEN BECKER has been a leader in the field of media archives and preservation for over fifteen years. She is a co-founder of the international Home Movie Day event and the non-profit Center for Home Movies, which was awarded the SAA Hamer Kegan Award for archival advocacy in 2017. She holds a BFA in Printmaking from the Maryland Institute, an MLIS from UCLA, and is completing a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation, “Keeping the Pieces: Evidence management and archival practice in law enforcement” is based in part on fieldwork in the property room and major crimes unit of a Sheriff’s office central Texas. Other recent projects include the IMLS-funded “On the Record, All the Time” National Forum on preservation and data management needs for police body-worn cameras (more info at http://is.gseis.ucla.edu/bodycams/). Becker manages the MLIS program in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, and regularly teaches workshops and graduate courses in heritage preservation, media collections administration, professional development and portfolio design.

Web: http://snowdenbecker.com
Twitter: @snowdenbecker