Episode 10: Anne Marie Kelly- the Power of Oral History, a Good Haircut and Preservation As a Political Practice

Not only will this be the 10th episode of Archivist’s Alley but it is also Pride Month. Therefore, this month I thought it would be wonderful to showcase some of the most exciting work and wonderful queer archivists in the preservation community. I hope that you all are as thrilled about it as I am. It’s going to be a Fabulous month, in every sense of the word!

Full disclosure: I was incredibly moved putting together episode 10. Anne Kelly’s work, passion and eloquence is inspirational. I first met her while she was writing an excellent column on Katherine Hepburn called A Year With Kate which we talk about a bit on the show. Thanks to TCM Film Fest, we got to hang out even more and shared such great times. You’ll learn how she moved from TCMFF and this incredible 52-week Kate Hepburn extravaganza to interning with the ultra brilliant Teague Schneiter at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to her current position as the Program Specialist for New Dimensions in Testimony at the USC Shoah Foundation.


But our conversation focuses on much more. We talk about the critical nature of oral history and the oral tradition. Genocide and the fact that it is still a problem. It is on-going and it has not stopped and that many simply associate the term genocide with the Holocaust and that continues to allow people, entire cultures, to disappear.

I talk to Anne about her identity as a queer woman in the archival landscape, community and the thing that has brought her and I together so strongly for so many years: our love for and belief in the revolutionary nature of memory work.

I am so excited to present this episode for you to kick off a month where we need to support and celebrate each other and erase erasure now more than ever.

Guest Bio:

Anne Marie Kelly is a Project Specialist at the USC Shoah Foundation. She is a recent graduate with her Masters in Cinema & Media Studies from USC with publications in The Cine-Files and Spectator. Anne previously worked in film sound restoration for Deluxe Entertainment and consulted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oral History Projects on the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Oral History Interviews collection.

Link to the USC Shoah Foundation: https://sfi.usc.edu/

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/