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:

Ashley Blewer: Digital Archiving, Open Source Work & Systems of Strength

My friend and colleague Ashley Blewer is one of the most inspirational people I know. She makes hard things seem simple because she enjoys them so much. She has this brilliant gift of being talented at digital preservation and moving image archiving yet not coming off as intimidating or pretentious. She always seems willing to answer questions you might have and goes out of her way not to make you feel stupid for asking.  Ashley has spent countless hours working on projects that provide educational access to folks who might want to learn about moving image archiving but may not have the funds to do so.

I am incredibly proud to know this fabulous human being, count her as one of my friends and get to watch her be the mighty rock star that she is!!!

Please enjoy our conversation and check out the links and the bio just underneath here. Please note that this episode was recorded in advance so forgive date discrepancies

Bio:

Ashley works as at Artefactual Systems as their AV Preservation Specialist, primarily on the Archivematica project. She specializes in time-based media preservation, digital repository management, infrastructure/community building, computer-to-human interpretation, and teaching technical concepts. She is an active contributor to MediaArea’s MediaConch, a open source digital video file conformance checker software project, and Bay Area Video Coalition’s QCTools, an open source digitized video analysis software project. She holds Master of Library and Information Science (Archives) and Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design) degrees from the University of South Carolina.

The absolutely amazing Beyoncé articles that Ashley wrote that we discussed:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/04/29/lemonade/

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/02/09/format-ion-video-playback-errors-in-beyonces-latest-music-video/

The other OMGWTFBBQ mindblowing piece that she wrote on the recent Netflix doc series, Wild Wild Country:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2018/04/01/wild-wild-country-and-the-magnetic-media-crisis/

MOAR FUN ASHLEY LINKS!!!:

avpres-training resource https://training.ashleyblewer.com/

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

 

 

Genevieve Weber: Decentering the Colonial Narrative in First Nations & Indigenous Community Materials

On the second Monday in October, the US observes a day that is most commonly known as Columbus Day. It has been known to facilitate parades, festivities and celebrations of all kinds.

This day is said to commemorate Christopher Columbus “discovering America.” **AHEM** Discovering did you say? Yeah, I don’t think so. It is scientifically, physically impossible to discover a country that is already COMPLETELY FULL of people living in fully functional societies.
Hey there colonialism, how ya doing?

So in order to work against a landscape that praises Columbus Day and TOWARDS a world that celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day, today is the first of what I hope are a few eps this season with guests who specialize in working with archives/collections or media materials centered in and around Indigenous folx. This episode features the incredible Genevieve Weber and we talk about the amazing things that she is doing up in Canada with First Nations communities. She is a total rockstar. SRSLY, y’all.

Please join me as she and I talk in depth about her work and the commitment that her institution, the BC Archives, has made to try to heal some of the damage that settlers and colonialism in general has done to First Nations folx in Canada.  Bio & links are below the podcast link!

Bio:

Genevieve Weber is an Archivist with the BC Archives, part of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Canada. She completed a Master of Archival Studies (MAS) degree at the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a concentration in First Nations recordkeeping and archives. Since then she has worked in a number of Indigenous communities in BC, including the Nisga’a Nation and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, and at MOA (the Museum of Anthropology at UBC). She has been with the BC Archives for the past two years. Helping community members access their cultural heritage in the archives is one of her favourite parts of her job.

Links:

BC Archives website: https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/bc-archives/about-us/about-bc-archives

Indigenous records at the BC Archives: https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/bc-archives/what-we-have/indigenous-material

The First Nations and Repatriation department of the Royal BC Museum  https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/first-nations/first-nations-repatriation

Jordan Hale: Learning in Public, Enduring Online Toxicity & Being Kind

I wanted to call this episode “Jordan Hale: Badassery In Action” but that doesn’t really explain what they do or who they are except that they are exactly that- a total badass.

I would not be the same person if I didn’t know Jordan. This episode starts off with me laughing and I am so glad that it does because Jordan brings me joy. I cannot imagine anyone meeting Jordan and not being folded into the joyful, strong and brilliant person that they are and continue to be.

We agree and disagree, they teach me so many things. Speaking to Jordan on this podcast and listening to them tell me about their work, I learned so many things that made me fall even more in love with archiving, preservation and the kickass people who make up this community. I’m all starry-eyed for Jordan Hale and not just because we have great cat conversations (although that’s a big plus cuz their cats are like majorly adorable mmkay?).

 

Here is Jordan’s Bio:

Jordan Hale is a landscape geographer and cat friend who is presently the Digital Repositories Librarian at the University of Waterloo. Their dream is to work as a media archivist for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here are some of the amazing things that they have written, some of which we discussed on the podcast:

Here is the NBD (No Big Deal) campaign that Jordan & I both love!

Here is the Little Free Libraries piece that raised such an uproar. IT’S GREAT. Read it!!

Click on this link for Jordan’s incredible piece on the ethics of archiving sex-worker’s lives.

And I know that many of you will be as interested in Jordan’s thesis as I was so here is access to their work on the memorial highways in Canada.