Video - Item Not Found Conference: Keynote #1 : Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty

Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty : “Let Them Research Cake: Exploring Loss, Lessness and the Spirit of Abstraction in Narrative Building and Practices of Collecting” Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty is the Director of the Smithsonian Libraries, where she oversees 137 employees, a national advisory board of 15 members, an annual budget of over $16 million dollars, and 22 library branches and reading rooms located in Washington, D.C., New York City, Maryland, Virginia and the Republic of Panama. She is also a faculty member of the UCLA California Rare Book School. Previously, she was an associate university librarian at Cornell University where she initiated Cornell RAD, a research hub for rare and distinctive collections. As director of collections and services at New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 2013 to 2014, Tamar led collection and programmatic development of five curatorial divisions. At the University of Chicago’s Black Metropolis Research Consortium, she served as executive director from 2011 to 2013 and as consulting archivist from 2007 to 2011, where she successfully led initiatives to discover and make accessible archives related to the African American diaspora. In addition to her extensive work with rare and distinctive collections, she is a published author and public speaker who's presented nationally on topics of inclusivity and equity in bibliography, administration and primary-source literacy. *** Item Not Found: Accounting for Loss in Libraries, Archives, and Other Heritage and Memory Organizations (March 8-9, 2023) This virtual conference considers the ongoing reassessment of memory and heritage work and heritage ownership, as it is understood by libraries, archives and related organizations, through an examination of the multiple meanings, complexities, and resonances of loss. As an inevitable reality of heritage preservation–saving everything is an impossibility–a nuanced understanding of the fundamental role of loss is an important counterpart to these organizations’ work towards preservation, permanence and sustainability. Once seen as static evidence of the past, heritage is now recognized as the subject of ongoing reinterpretation, maintenance, and negotiation for those living in the present. Collectors are increasingly willing to confront processes of repatriation, reparation and restitution, and other forms of deaccessioning, and vocabularies of ownership are giving way to those of stewardship, custody, and post-custody. At the same time, heightened attention to sustainable practices is also encouraging a reassessment of longstanding assumptions about collection development and preservation, challenging the model of limitless expansion, growth and permanence as a primary measure of success. Cultural memory and heritage workers, too, face many other kinds of loss within and beyond the workplace that impacts their labor, including loss of resources, safety nets, and colleagues. What is heritage and cultural property, and to whom do they belong? Who owns the past, and what does such ownership mean? Is it possible for acts of past injustice to result in cooperative relationship-building for the future? How can a sustained interrogation of collection and heritage loss be productively leveraged to reckon with other kinds of loss in the cultural memory and heritage workspace? We seek to explore these and other related questions during this two-day conference. 0:00 Conference introduction 17:12 Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty 50:25 Q&A
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