Dance Archives: Accessibility & Inclusion through Cataloging

May 31, 2022 | 3:00PM-4:15PM EST / Virtual Event

The Hemispheric Institute is proud to present Agency + Process, a series of virtual conversations curated by Camille Lawrence celebrating individuals who are shaping the future of memory work, creating outside of traditional archival models. Those featured employ ethical methodologies to access and recover hidden Black histories. Lawrence refers to this intentional practice as “seeing in the dark”, where Black folks have the ability to see themselves where others cannot.

This series will explore, challenge, and celebrate the ways that Black memory workers are taking agency over the preservation, documentation, and representation of Black life, and will feature speakers who are transforming how communities interact and engage with archives and performance art. The series will begin with two events in which archivists discuss ways to address institutional inequities and share their reparative practices in the archives. The subsequent conversations will highlight creatives, archivists, and artists whose work centers Black visibility and the body as an archive.

Hemi is also excited to announce Camille Lawrence as a Mellon Curator in Residence for the 2022 calendar year. Lawrence is an artist and archivist whose work focuses on the diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. To learn more about Lawrence’s work, click here.

​​These events are made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the "World Making and Social Emergency at the Hemispheric Institute" initiative.

Dance Archives: Accessibility & Inclusion through Cataloging

The BAM Hamm Archives tell the 150-year history of BAM, but they also tell a story of the people and communities—civic and artistic—that made BAM what it is today. Over 25,000 images and documents have been entered into the digital collection, and the digital BAM Hamm Archives have been accessible for public use as of 2016. BAM Hamm Archives Director Sharon Lehner and Archivist Camille Lawrence discuss archival cataloging techniques, initiatives, and inclusive community-based projects happening at BAM. 

Camille Lawrence

Camille Lawrence (she/her). Archivist, Artist, Curator. Founder of Black Beauty Archives. Camille Lawrence's work as an archivist focuses on the art history, innovations, and diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. She is most interested in exploring and archiving identity formation throughout the African diaspora and culture through three foundational principles: Oral, Physical, and Ritual. Lawrence's background as an art historian, artist, and beauty practitioner informs her approach to archival work. Her projects include Black Beauty Archives and contributions to Urban Bush Women, BAM DanceAfrica, and Black Dance Stories.

On Juneteenth 2020, Camille founded Black Beauty Archives to document, preserve and archive the history of Black Beauty culture. Camille's professional makeup artist experience includes publications in VOGUE, Sophisticate's Black Hair Styles, The New York Times, and TV/Film with Apple, CNBC, Disney, ESPN, Hallmark, and Nike. In 2022, Black Beauty Archives was featured in Oprah Daily! and mentioned on CNN and The Hollywood Reporter.

She completed her BA in Art History and a minor in Global Black Studies from SUNY Purchase. She is completing her MLIS from CUNY Queens College and Beauty Essentials Certification from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Sharon Lehner

Sharon Lehner (she/her). Archivist, Historian. Sharon Lehner has directed the BAM Hamm Archives at the Brooklyn Academy of Music since 1999. She has served as a consultant to numerous performance archives and acted as advisor to the Pina Bausch Archives from 2009-2017. Recent projects include the launch of The Leon Levy Shelby White BAM Digital Archive, an encyclopedic resource documenting BAM’s 160-year history, and In Terms of Performance at BAM, an interactive installation exploring the terms that describe contemporary art and performance, co-produced by BAM, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and UC Berkeley. Lehner’s recent publications include How to Create an Archive? Inheriting Dance: An Invitation from Pina, BAM: The Next Wave Festival edited by Susan Yung and Steven Serafin, and an interview in the Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities in Theatre and Performance edited by Dr. Nic Leonhardt.

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