Thursday, 19 September, 12 noon – 1:30 pm, Faculty of Information, room BL538, 140 St George St, Toronto
DCI Conversations: Content Curation
with Virginia Poundstone, founding Content Curation Director of MhZ Curationist
in conversation with Costis Dallas
Content curation on the Web is perhaps the most widely known form of adding value to cultural resources in the digital environment: a highly relevant form of digital curation rarely addressed in the digital preservation and curation literature, which produces new forms of memory work promising to empower excluded communities, to pluralize cultural discourses and encounters, and to provide new opportunities for storytelling and meaning-making. In the intersection between digital archive and web exhibition space of public domain and Creative Commons cultural resources, MhZ Curationist (https://www.curationist.org) was founded with the ambition “to act a space for finding and collecting significant cultural and historical resources that are not limited by copyright”, aiming “to communicate liberated cultural narratives that enhance curiosity, intercultural exchange, and critical thinking by prioritizing collaboration and directing attention to the source”. The invited guest in this first DCI Conversations event, Virginia Poundstone, leads the emerging vision of Curationist to become an incubator for equity, intercultural conversations and exchange, amplifying the under-represented voices from the global majority online. She is well-placed to share her experience, but also to offer her unique insights on vexing questions concerning the contemporary landscape of digital cultural memory: to name but a few:
- what is different about digital curation for social justice?
- how to enable plural voices and enrichment of cultural resources in digitally enabled curation and assemblages?
- how to nurture sustainable curatorial communities online?
- how to balance the desire for open access and inclusion with the need to respect cultural protocols and to deal with difficult heritage? and,
- how to ensure the authenticity and integrity of cultural resources in the long term through digital curation practice, while still accounting for their life histories, evolving meanings, and agency as triggers of cultural encounters and social transformation?
Virginia Poundstone is a visual artist, educator, and community organizer based in New York City. The throughline of all of her work has been to challenge invisible dominant systems by establishing new ways of value creation through cultural production, distribution, and redistribution. Whether she navigates this by tracing the global cut flower industry in her artwork, or through efforts to shine a light on local schools as an educational justice activist, her goals have been collective and personal empowerment through critical inquiry, knowledge exchange, and cultural dialog. As a visual artist she has exhibited her work widely, produced projects internationally and has received accolades and awards. She has been an educator at Columbia University School of the Arts Visual Arts Program, Parsons The New School of Design and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She was co-director of the 100% volunteer grassroots organization, Bed Stuy Parents Committee, a non-profit advocating for equity in local schools. She continues her advocacy through interpersonal and grassroots antiracist parenting work and is a member of her Community Board’s Youth and Education Committee. As MHz Curationist’s founding Content Curation Director, she aims to amplify the proportionally underrepresented voices in the digital commons by supporting international leaders in cultural production and digital preservation. Her emergent vision for Curationist is to model an online space for redistribution as a two-way exchange that celebrates difference and deepens cultural awareness. With a commitment to decolonization, intersectionality, and social and environmental justice, storytelling methods for knowledge production will be centered as a means to understand the ways people interpret and create the world and their, and our collective, place within it. She is a white American with settler ancestors and enslavers on her paternal side and Eastern European immigrants on her maternal side. Raised in Kentucky she moved to New York in the mid 90’s and attended Eugene Lang College and Parsons School of Design as the internet was publicly being formed by experiment and design. She thinks of herself as a digital native, but in grandmother form.