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Puerto Rican Archives: Preserving Community Memory Symposium

April 5, 2024, 10:00 am - April 6, 2024, 4:00 pm

About the Event

Puerto Rican Archives: Preserving Community Memory is a two-day symposium focused on the political potency of Puerto Rican archives—both on the island and in the diaspora.

The symposium is a collaboration between Digitizing the Barrio (an archival project of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center), The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It extends the focus on collective histories highlighted through photographs and ephemera documenting social movements and community organizations in the MCA exhibition entre horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico.

The symposium will foreground archives that house histories of Puerto Rican protest including speakers from presenting Chicago institutions, PRCC and NMPRAC; representatives from Puerto Rico-based organizations Archivo General de Puerto Rico, Archivo Histórico de Vieques, Archivo Comunitario LGBTQ+ de Puerto Rico, and Memoria Decolonial; and CENTRO in New York.

Through panels, a keynote, and workshops, the symposium aims to generate dialogue, connection, and community engaged learning around key Puerto Rico and diasporic events.

The symposium will take place on April 5 and 6, 2024, at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, 3015 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622.

*You must register for each day.

AGENDA – DAY 1: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (10 AM – 6 PM)

LIVE STREAM:

CLICK HERE to join the webinar on Friday, April 5th from 9:30 AM – 5 PM

9:30-10AM: Welcome by the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMMPRAC), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), and Digitizing the Barrio

  • Billy Ocasio (Director, NMPRAC)
  • Dr. Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz (Co-Director, Digitizing the Barrio and Associate Professor, Berkeley Sociology)

10-11:20 AM – SESSION 1: Puerto Rican Archives Across Space and Scales

Archivo General de Puerto Rico, Archivo Histórico de Vieques, Archivo Comunitario LGBTQ+ de Puerto Rico, and CENTRO will each briefly present an introduction to each archive—what they collect and why—to highlight diverse ways their collection and preservation strategies engage various dimensions of Puerto Rican history.

Moderator: Brianna Van Schoyck (MCA)

Presenters :

  • Javier E. Laureano (Archivist, Archivo Comunitario LGBTQ+ de Puerto Rico)
  • Hilda Ayala González (Director, General Archives of Puerto Rico)
  • Diana Ramos Gutiérrez (Archivist, Archivo Histórico de Vieques)
  • Rafael V. Capó García (Archivist, Memoria Decolonial)
  • Cristina Fontanez-Rodriguez (Archival Collections Manager, CENTRO)

 

11:30AM-12:50PM – SESSION 2: Archiving 101

Digitizing the Barrio, Archivera General de Puerto Rico, and CENTRO will introduce basic approaches to archiving for those who are interested in preserving their histories through documents, photos, and other ephemera.

Moderator: Veronica Ocasio (Director of Education and Programming, NMPRAC)

Presenters:

  • Angelica Hernandez (Archivist, Digitizing the Barrio)
  • Hilda Ayala González (Director, General Archives of Puerto Rico)
  • Herbert Duran (Assistant Archivist, CENTRO)

 

2:00-3:20 PM – SESSION 3: The Politics and Ethics of Memory

The session will discuss how archives themselves are contested sites of memory—influenced in some cases by colonial practices—and how archivists and memory-workers at Memoria Decolonial, Archivo Histórico de Vieques, and CENTRO archive and generate counter storytelling narratives.

Moderator: Margaret Power (Co-Director, Digitizing the Barrio)

Panelists:

  • Rafael V. Capó García (Archivist, Memoria Decolonial)
  • Diana Ramos Gutiérrez (Archivist, Archivo Histórico de Vieques)
  • Cristina Fontanez Rodríguez (Archival Collections Manager, CENTRO)
  • Carmen T. Pérez González (Director of the National Library of Puerto Rico)

 

3:30-4:50PM – SESSION 4: History-Making and Meaning-Making

How do organizations address gaps and silences in community histories and create space for public engagement with such histories? This session will include members of the NMPRAC, Digitizing the Barrio, and the Archivo Comunitario LGBTQ+ de Puerto Rico, who will discuss the role of oral history interviews and other methods of making history and collective meaning.

Moderator: Angelica Hernandez (Archivist, Digitizing the Barrio)

Panelists:

  • Veronica Ocasio (Director of Education and Programming, NMPRAC)
  • Margaret Power (Co-Director, of Digitizing the Barrio)
  • Javier E. Laureano (Archivist, Archivo Comunitario LGBTQ+ de Puerto Rico)

 

AGENDA – DAY 2: SATURDAY, APRIL 6 (9:30 AM – 3:30 PM)

LIVE STREAM:

CLICK HERE to join the webinar on Saturday, April 6th from 12:30 AM – 3:30 PM

10-12 PM Interactive Community Workshop: Building Personal and Family Archives (REGISTRATION FULL)

This workshop will teach participants how to build their own archives—co-facilitated by NMPRAC, Digitizing the Barrio, and CENTRO.

Moderator: Brianna Van Schoyck (Community Engagement Fellow, MCA)

Facilitators

  • Cristina Fontanez Rodríguez (Archival Collections Manager, CENTRO)
  • Hilda Ayala González (Director, General Archives of Puerto Rico)
  • Herbert Duran (Assistant Archivist, CENTRO)
  • Angelica Hernandez (Archivist, Digitizing the Bario)

 

12:30-1:45 PM – Barrio Under Siege: Memories of Political Repression in Puerto Rican Chicago (NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

This session will reflect on histories and memories of political repression against Puerto Rican anticolonial activists and movements in Chicago. It will feature a moderated discussion between historical figures, José E. López, executive director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, and Michael Deutsch, attorney at the People’s Law Office (retired).

Moderator: Cristina Pacione-Zayas (Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago)

Panelists:

  • José E. López (Director, Puerto Rican Cultural Center)
  • Michael Deutsch (Attorney, retired)

 

2:00-3:15PM CLOSING KEYNOTE: Dr. Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, Director of CENTRO (NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

Dr. Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez is the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO) and a professor of Africana, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. Professor Figueroa’s teaching and research focus on Latinx Caribbean and Afro-Hispanic literatures and diasporas, women of color, and decolonial Feminisms. She is the author of the award-winning book Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2020; translated by Editora Educación Emergente, 2023), and the forthcoming book, The Survival of a People (under contract with Duke University Press).

Founded in 1973 by a coalition of students, faculty, and activists, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO) is the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

________________________________________________________

Special gratitude to the Archiving Symposium Committee Members for coordinating an incredible community event:

Digitizing the Barrio (a program of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago)

  • Angelica Hernandez, Margaret Power and Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

  • Daniel Atkinson and Brianna Van Schoyck

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

  • Veronica Ocasio

________________________________________________________

The Archiving Symposium Committee Members thank the following funders and supporters:

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture’s (NMPRAC) Archives and Collections Research Center will serve as a dedicated repository for artifacts, documents, art, objects, books, records, films, and other materials that embody the cultural richness of Puerto Rican heritage in Chicago and the diaspora. By preserving these items, the center aims to safeguard the collective history and memories of the Puerto Rican community. We are grateful for funding and support from the Chicago Park District, City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Digitizing the Barrio is a project of the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center. This event is made possible with the support of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). We are also grateful for funding from the University of California, Berkeley and its Department of Sociology.

MCA: Lead support for the 2023-24 season of MCA Talks is made possible by The Richard and Mary L. Gray Lecture Series through a generous gift to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign.

Generous support is provided by The Antje B. and John J. Jelinek Endowed Lecture and Symposium on Contemporary Art; the Kristina Barr Lectures, which were established through a generous gift by The Barr Fund to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign; The Gloria Brackstone Solow and Eugene A. Solow, MD, Memorial Lecture Series; and the Allen M. Turner Tribute Fund, honoring his past leadership as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

MCA Exhibition: Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Zell Family Foundation, Cari and Michael Sacks, the Mellon Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Major support is provided by the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation and Jana and Bernardo Hees.

Generous support is provided by Marilyn and Larry Fields.

This exhibition is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.

  • Type: Special Events,Workshops
  • Time: April 5, 2024 - 10:00 am April 6, 2024 - 4:00 pm
  • Venue:The National Puerto Rican Museum
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