Do It Yourself & Community Archiving Symposium

Posted on October 19, 2016

registeruniformlarge1On Friday, November 11th, AMIA will offer a free Do It Yourself & Community Archiving Symposium as part of its annual Conference in Pittsburgh.  The Symposium, focused on community archives and independent media, is open to archivists and artists in the region.

Archival materials coming from the independent media community, and archivists who support that community, often work against major hurdles: lack of funding, content not represented by institutionalized taxonomies, productions operating outside of industry canons. Because of this, a number of challenges come up regarding archives’ practice and often result in low-cost, do-it-yourself and open source solutions for archiving moving images.

This free, day-long symposium investigate these solutions and methodologies for archiving independent, activist and community archives with a considerable focus on skillshares among colleagues in our field, incorporating participation by independent media producers, community archives, and artists.  The symposium is offered as part of the annual AMIA conference, and attendees will have the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world.

Symposium presentations and screenings include:

9:30am  | Omni William Penn Hotel
Building Regional AV Preservation Coalitions Using the Community Archiving Model

The Community Archiving Workshop (CAW) model is growing, and the CAW Organizing Committee needs to know: what tools and training will help you organize CAWs and promote the CAW model? Now going into our 7th year, we propose to use CAWs to help catalyze the organization of regional coalitions which can serve as anchors for local AV preservation efforts. The CAW proposes to meet increasing demand for local CAW events with the establishment of Training of Trainers curriculum that can be disseminated widely in partnership with regional archives and organizations. Next steps for the CAW include the development of a Training of Trainers curriculum, an enhanced Organizer’s Toolkit and support to strengthen regional networks for AV preservation. We welcome feedback and suggestions from AMIA members who have participated in past workshops and / or who are interested in delivering workshops in their own regional communities. The primary purpose of the discussion is to provide information about the history and future of CAW and to solicit active feedback and participation from attendees. Documentation and data collected from this day will play an essential role to the further development of the CAW model and subsequent toolkit and training.

11:00am  | Omni William Penn Hotel
Real Talk: Archiving Independent Media and Community Collections
Accepted standards and best practices for audiovisual archiving usually emerge from institutional contexts (e.g. libraries, universities, professional organizations), and are not always applicable or sufficient when working with community-based groups or alternative media-makers. How do archivists working in traditional institutions foster more reciprocal and collaborative relationships with communities to preserve their histories? What are the affective, emotional, or other social dynamics involved with archiving documentation of police violence? What are some lessons learned from participatory approaches to archiving the work of independent artists and the collections of grassroots media distributors? This panel will examine the particular challenges of working in these contexts, and the practices that emerge from them.

2:00pm | Omni William Penn Hotel
Documenting A Changing Pittsburgh: East of Liberty Films and the Impact of Gentrification

This session will feature director Chris Ivey speaking and sharing clips from his ongoing documentary project East of Liberty. Entering its fourth installment, the East of Liberty series explores the hopes and fears of community members in a neighborhood experiencing rapid redevelopment, aiming to “create a historical record that captures the essence of community change and exposes taboos in frank conversation-from displacement to neighborhood violence to discussions of race and class.” Ivey will speak to the challenges of working responsibly with community members to portray a changing neighborhood, as well as share segments from previous films and a preview of the newest chapter, Youth Rising. He will be joined by East Liberty residents connected to the films.

3:30pm | Omni William Penn Hotel
Tech in Community, Community in Tech: Digital Collections in the Real World

From receiving digitized video files back from vendors, to bash shell scripting, archivists are frequently finding themselves as the technology leads of their underfunded departments, or newly managing contractors for technology projects. This session will introduce some software programs that archivists have used to make their lives easier, and discuss strategies for taking the fear out of technology in the archives. Panelists will introduce a handful of tools and scripts that help facilitate different areas of a digital collections’ lifecycle, as well as discussing workplace matters and experiences in the field.

4:45pm | Omni William Penn Hotel
DIY&CA: : Think-For-Yourself, Do-It-Yourself: Revealing Independent Media from Behind the Iron Curtain
Artists, activists, and archivists embrace do-it-yourself strategies at times of political and social unrest for free expression, communication, and survival of marginalized voices. Between 1950 and 1990, political suppression paradoxically sparked creative action across the underground arts scene of Eastern Europe from secret concerts, actions, and happenings to self-published zines and media. This presentation explores salvaged collections hidden behind the Iron Curtain, how artists became accidental archivists, and where collections once concealed in basements or confiscated by secret police have ended up today and how they are being preserved. Case studies describe the methodologies of archives throughout Europe where independent and community archiving actions are taking place despite limited environments to safeguard these collections, and how prominent figures from the underground scene are active in archiving. This presentation stems from on-site research for my 2015 MIAP thesis “I Will Counterrevolution / I Will Stop All The Motion: Archiving Exile, Samizdat, and Underground Audio from the Eastern Bloc”.

6:15pm   |  Point Park University | GRW Theatre
Evening Screening: Filmmaking as Community Activism
This program will present a screening of LIGHTNING OVER BRADDOCK: A RUSTBOWL FANTASY (1988, 80 mins) followed by a discussion with Tony Buba, an independent filmmaker who uses documentary as a form of community activism in the Pittsburgh area. As president of Braddock Films, Tony Buba has been producing documentaries since 1972 in both long and short formats. In addition to producing personal work, Braddock Films has been involved in producing award-winning documentaries in the Pittsburgh area. He has focused his energies on the crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, whose people and environments have been directly affected by the age of post-industrial decline.

7:30pm   | Omni William Penn Hotel
It Happened in 16mm: A Night of Regional Film
| Omni William Penn Hotel
AMIA’s Small Gauge Amateur Film Committee (SGAFC) and the Regional Audiovisual Archives Committee (RAVA), together with Three Rivers Archivists, invite you to the third annual small gauge regional film screening. The program will be curated from the collections of RAVA’s institutional members and local regional archives and will feature 16mm film highlighting content of the Mid-Atlantic region.

8:35pm    | Omni William Penn Hotel
The Eames Film Collection at the Library of Congress
Charles and Ray Eames’ contribution to furniture design and architecture are legendary, and some of their films — often sponsored by corporations like IBM — were distributed for educational and industrial audiences.  The Library of Congress has undertaken film and digital preservation of the Eames Collection, from some of their well-known titles like Powers of Ten to their unpublished titles and their multiscreen presentations.  Amy Gallick, Preservation Specialist, and Mike Mashon, Head of the Moving Image Section, from LoC will discuss the collection, its acquisition and preservation challenges.

9:40pm    | Omni William Penn Hotel
Envisioning Pittsburgh
This screening will showcase the rich collections and creativity of the conference’s host city,  highlighting archival film rarities that imagine Pittsburgh from a multitude of cinematic genres,  presented with live scores by local musicians. The films present Pittsburgh’s industrial legacy, its  unique neighborhoods and people, and embody the region’s rich tradition of documentary and  experimental filmmaking. The program will be culled from collections as diverse as the University  of Pittsburgh, including their KDKA and WTAE news film collections and the Pitt Parade collection; and  the private Orgone Archive, including a remarkable 1957 Kodachrome sponsored film Gateway to the  Future, created for the Pittsburgh centennial. Historical figures Lyndon B. Johnson and Eleanor  Roosevelt are among the featured luminaries. Live scores to the films will be provided by composers and multi-instrumentalists Ben Opie and Colter Harper.