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 email@example.com
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!!
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.
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)
Home Made Visible – a project of the Regent Park Film Festival:
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
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:
The other OMGWTFBBQ mindblowing piece that she wrote on the recent Netflix doc series, Wild Wild Country:
MOAR FUN ASHLEY LINKS!!!:
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:
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!
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.
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