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ASU awarded Mellon grant to develop community-driven collections

Arizona State University has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a three-year project designed to build and expand community-driven collections, in an effort to preserve and improve Arizona’s archives and give voice to historically marginalized communities.

Under the leadership of ASU Library Archivist Nancy Godoy and co-investigators, Dr. Sujey Vega and Lorrie McAllister, the project – titled “Engaging, Educating, and Empowering: Developing Community-Driven Archival Collections” – will implement Archives and Preservation Workshops and Digitization and Oral History Days as well as digitize and make publicly accessible existing archival collections from ASU Library’s Chicano/a Research Collection and Greater Arizona Collection.

“This generous grant from the Mellon Foundation will help ASU and ASU Library continue to build an atmosphere that educates and empowers individuals by promoting equal ownership of archives and shared stewardship responsibilities,” said Godoy, principal investigator. “Multiple perspectives and narratives are needed in order to get an accurate understanding of Arizona history. Marginalized communities have the right to preserve their own archives and should feel invested in ongoing efforts to preserve a more complete representation of local history.”

In 2012, the Arizona Archives Matrix Project, a statewide initiative to gather data about local archives, identified several historically marginalized communities in Arizona, including LGBT, Asian American, African American and the Latino community, which makes up 30 percent of Arizona’s population but is represented in less than 2 percent of known archival collections.

With the aim to address this inequity, the ASU project will build on Godoy’s previous work co-establishing the Arizona LGBT History Project and collaborating with ASU faculty members Dr. Vega and Dr. Vanessa Fonseca on an ASU School of Transborder Studies seed grant titled “Preserving Arizona’s Latina/o Presence: Community Based Workshops on Archival Preservation and K-12 Curriculum,” which implemented archives and preservation workshops statewide and helped to assess community needs and interests.

“Nancy Godoy’s work demonstrates the inclusive and socially embedded values of ASU, and is helping marginalized communities to recognize the value of their personal material,” said McAllister, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Strategy at ASU Library.

"This grant will enable the acquisition and growth of community-driven collections as well as introduce notions of intersectionality, as the library works to integrate these lived realities into our ‘collective memory’ – our shared history – of Arizona,” said Vega, Assistant Professor, School of Social Transformation.