Community Cataloguing Cara Michell

Community Cataloguing in action

Cara Michell, MUP 2016
Summer 2015

Organization: Rebuild Foundation, Chicago, IL, USA
Sponsor: Doebele Community Service Fellowship

“Yesterday was my third chance to help out with the Rebuild Foundation’s “Community Cataloguing” workshop. Though I normally work at UChicago Arts & Public Life’s Place Lab as part of my Doebele Fellowship with Theaster Gates, I’ve had a chance each Wednesday this month to switch it up and spend some time with Kate Hadley Toftness (manager of archival collections and public engagement for Rebuild) at the Black Cinema House. The idea for Community Cataloguing came out of a desire to ensure that residents of the South Shore community in Chicago can feel ownership over the collections that will soon inhabit the Stony Island Arts Bank. Those collections include he Frankie Knuckles Record Collection, UChicago’s glass lantern slide art history collection and the Ed Williams collection, but our cataloguing workshops focus on the Johnson Library collection.

Members of the community are invited twice a week to help us curate the books given to Theaster Gates by Johnson Publishing. This collection includes over 70 years worth of archival prints from Jet and Ebony magazine, the Johnson research library and autographed literary pics sent by editors and authors in hopes that Jet or Ebony would review them. What’s most important about this project and its future home in the Stony Island Arts Bank is that a history that was made by Chicago’s Black community can now live on in that same community, avoiding the common fait of becoming entombed by some elitist institution.”

Article reposted with permission from city.on.wheels.