Episode 15: Courtney Dean- Punk Rock Archives, Better Labor Practices & Community Strength

Welcome to the final episode of season one!

I couldn’t think of a more powerful and amazing guest than the talented and inspirational Courtney Dean. Doing this episode with her was just plain fun and reminded me of all the reasons that I got into this world: to have colleagues like this. People who will stand by you and laugh with you, speak your language, protest with you and party with you.

That’s what this show, ultimately is about. I hope that during the next few weeks while I am on a mini-hiatus you can go back and listen to past episodes and check out all the other guests who TRULY fulfill the same function in this landscape that this week’s guest does.

 

Of significant importance, I hope that everyone who listens to this signs the letter/petition included in Courtney’s links. The contract issues we discuss are not business practices exclusive to UCLA and they need to stop. Archival workers, librarians, we are important. We are growing and radicalizing as a field, no longer allowing the rotting structures of the past to rule. and bringing our own beautiful identities to the table and critical lived experiences to our work. We need visibility, job security, unions and everything that Courtney and the inspirational team behind this letter are calling for. Sign it. You don’t have to work or even know a librarian or archivist to sign. Just sign it “caring citizen.” 🙂

Anyways, I love all of you who have been supporting this show and my guests. THANK YOU FOR THAT. I’ll be back in a bit with more amazing people rocking this space.

For now, here is Courtney’s bio and the amazing links to her other highly recommended archives and materials. I will second/third/infinity all of them as well. COURTNEY RULES!!!

BIO:

Courtney Dean is the Head of the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) in UCLA Library Special Collections, where she provides hands-on training in archival methodology to graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds, and facilitates creative engagement with special collections materials. Prior to UCLA she worked as a Project Archivist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2014 she co-founded the Los Angeles Archivists Collective (LAAC), a community-driven local professional organization with a focus on students and new professionals. She is an active member of the Society of California Archivists and Society of American Archivists, where she is currently the Issues & Advocacy Section’s Vice-Chair. She earned her MLIS from UCLA in 2013.

 
 
Los Angeles Archivists Collective (LAAC): http://www.laacollective.org/
 
 
 
Louisville Underground Music Archive: https://library.louisville.edu/archives/luma
 
Alliance for Local Music Archives (ALMA): http://www.localmusicarchives.org/
 
 
 
Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP): https://www.qzap.org/v8/index.php
 
Issues & Advocacy Section of SAA: https://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/

 

Ettarh, Fobazi. Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves. In the Library with the Lead Pipe. January 10, 2018. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/

 

Karly Wildenhaus on LIS Internships: https://tinyletter.com/lis-internships
 
Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble

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