The joint Upper Midwest Digital Collections Conference (#UMDCC20) and the Minnesota Digital Library Annual Meeting (#mndiglib2020) was held virtually November 5-6, 2020. Our two conferences share the same goals of providing an opportunity to connect with colleagues, share projects, and learn from each other, with the added benefit of cross-pollination between two different groups with many affinities.
Note: Registration is required for this event and is now closed.
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Friday, November 6 • 10:00am - 11:30am
Plenary: The Urban Art Mapping Research Project and The Journal of the Plague Year

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Urban Art Mapping Research Project
Street art – including graffiti, murals, stickers, wheat paste posters, light projections, and more – is by nature ephemeral, often capturing raw and immediate responses to events happening in the world. In the context of crisis, street art has the potential to transform urban space and foster a sustained political dialogue, reaching a wide audience. We are, in fact, witnessing an explosion of street art around the world created in response to both the global pandemic and widespread uprisings calling for an end to systemic racism. Two databases created by the Urban Art Mapping Research Project seek to capture this: the George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database documents examples of street art demanding social justice and racial equality in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, while the Covid-19 Street Art captures ongoing responses to the pandemic on a global scale. Beyond serving as a repository for urban art, the two databases were created as a resource for students, activists, scholars, and artists by way of metadata including a description of key themes, geolocations, and dates of documentation. To this end, the projects seek to provide a space for an analysis of the text, iconography, and issues that appear in street art on a global scale, explored in relation to local experiences, responses, and attitudes. In this presentation, we will discuss the impetus behind the two databases, explore the ethical issues involved in creating crowd-sourced collections of street art, and consider the role of the digital archive in documenting artworks that are intended to be ephemeral.

Dr. Heather Shirey and graduate student Frederica Simmons will represent the Urban Art Mapping research team. The Urban Art Mapping team is a multi-disciplinary, multi-racial group of faculty and students from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. We have been engaged in the analysis of art in the streets in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood since 2018.

The Journal of the Plague Year
The Journal of a Plague Year: An Archive of Covid-19 emerged in early March 2020 as a crowd-sourced rapid-response to the pandemic. Initiated at Arizona State University, The Journal of a Plague Year (or JOTPY), morphed into a curatorial consortium directed by a community of historians, students, and archivists situated in libraries, museums, and universities around the world. JOTPY accepts all varieties of material: photographs, screen captures, social media, media, institutional communications, memes, oral history, audio histories, video clips, links, textual stories, as well as files including emails, announcements, text messages, scientific documents, and flyers. The archive seeks stories that help present communities and future historians to understand the pandemic through its record of daily life. To date, JOTPY has received more than 10,000 digital objects from an array of communities.

The Journal of a Plague Year set as its goal to develop a community-based archival strategy that seeks to address traditional silences in archives, as well as to build a process that takes account of emerging silences in JOTPY itself. The archive emphasizes principles of ethical collecting, describing archival materials with rich curatorial and user-generated metadata, and using both metadata and design to make materials in the archive easily discoverable by diverse publics.

The archive was seeded by funding from the public history endowment at Arizona State University, endowed by Noel Stowe. Additional and significant funding, for curators and design, has been provided by Arizona State University: the Humanities Dean of the College for Liberal Arts & Sciences; the Institute for Humanities Research; the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies; and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict through the Luce Foundation.

Mark Tebeau, Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University, and the co-founder and director of JOTPY will speak on behalf of the curatorial consortium.

avatar for Heather Shirey

Heather Shirey

Professor of Art History, University of St. Thomas
I am a professor of art history at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am co-director of the Urban Art Mapping Project, an interdisciplinary research project focusing on systematic contextualization and spatial analysis of street art. As part of this project... Read More →

Frederica Simmons

Graduate Student, Art History and Museum Studies, University of St Thomas

Mark Tebeau

Associate Professor of History, Arizona State University

Friday November 6, 2020 10:00am - 11:30am CST
Lilac Room