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Preserving our Heritage: A Weekend of Community Archiving at CENTRO

Preserving our Heritage: A Weekend of Community Archiving at CENTRO

Location: The Silberman School of Social Work Auditorium

Event Organizer: Center for Puerto Rican Studies

Cost: Free

Thursday, November 9, 2023 – Saturday, November 11, 2023

Join CENTRO for a series exploring the significance of preserving and documenting the historical memory of diasporic and minority communities. As part of our 50th Anniversary, we aim to make our archival experience and knowledge accessible to empower our community and ensure our legacies are woven into the tapestry of global heritage.  

Collective memory shapes identities, fosters understanding, and forges inclusivity. Through engaging discussions and interactive sessions, we will explore why it is crucial to capture and share the stories of communities that have often been overlooked. 

Through this symposium we will: 

-Discuss best archival practices for individual and collective community archives

-Learn about copyright laws and restrictions 

– Engage in personal digitization workshops

-Explore a comprehensive outline of our shared history 

Join us for 3 days with The Schomburg, Lesbian Herstory, The Whitney, and other partners at the CENTRO Library & Archives located in El Barrio!

Day 1: Preserving our Heritage: Opening Keynote

Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 6 PM


We’re kicking off a weekend of community archiving with a conversation on the importance of guarding our histories. Join CENTRO Directora, Dr. Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez in conversation with Joy Bivins, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on the shared responsibilities, challenges, and joy of archiving such rich and unique communities. This conversation is moderated by Briona Jones, Assistant Professor of English, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut.

Day 2: Preserving our Heritage: A Day of Learning

Friday, November 10, 2023 at 10 AM

Silberman School of Social Work

Archiving our Communities

10:00 AM – 11:15 AM

Join moderator Barrye Brown of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and panelists Amy Beth from Lesbian Herstory Archives, Azalea Camacho of California State University and Stephany Bravo, Director of Archivo 310, Danica Stompór from the Queens College Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, with CENTRO Digital Archivist Lindsay Wittwer, as they explore the challenges, rewards, and lessons learned of collecting and documenting their communities’ histories. Each of the Community Archives represented in this panel document unique communities, however, there are similarities in how this work is done.

Copyrights for Archival Materials

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM

Explore the process of donating treasured materials (or accepting them) and the limitations that exist in the acquisition process. The transfer of archival materials can be hard, especially when copyrights are taken into consideration. This panel, moderated by CENTRO Digital Archivist Lindsay Wittwer, brings together Emma E. Frean of the Volunteers Lawyers for the Arts of New York, CENTRO Archivist, Cristina Fontánez Rodriguez, and CENTRO Donor, Candido Negron, and dives into how you can protect your interest as you navigate the transfer process while providing information on the best practices. 

Archiving Art 

3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

In the world of archiving, there’s often not enough information available about collections that include photos, art, manuscripts, and creative works. This lack of information can make it difficult to give credit to the original creators. This panel discussion, moderated by CENTRO archivist Cristina Fontánez Rodriguez with Farris Wahbeh of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Barbara Calderón of the School of Visual Arts, and Valerie Irizarry of En Foco, is all about addressing these issues and giving attendees strategies to work around them when building collections. It will also cover ways to improve local archives by adding more details about the items, making it easier and more ethical to use these valuable resources.

Day 3: Preserving our Heritage: Community Archiving Workshop

Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 10 AM

Silberman School of Social Work

Jump start your personal archive today! Archiving your materials does not need to wait. Join us for an introductory workshop on preserving audiovisual materials! Starting at 10 AM, members of XFR Collective and Community Archiving Workshop will be presenting an overview of audiovisual basics: the history of film and magnetic media (video and audio tape), format risks, and care recommendations. Then, they will then introduce a video digitization setup with the minimum equipment needed to transfer magnetic formats like VHS, Hi8, and digital tape format MiniDV. Attendees will be invited to try out equipment and ask questions. Those who attend will be offered two free media transfers by XFR Collective volunteers, to be scheduled at a later date.

Want to digitize photographs and other personal mementos? Drop in at any time between 10AM and 1PM and CENTRO Archives staff will help you scan papers and photographs and will provide guidance on how to store and preserve your personal and family memories.


CENTRO’s Archives is the only repository in the world devoted to documenting Diasporican history. It contains over 6700 cubic feet of material from more than 300 archival collections spanning the 20th and 21st centuries and documents communities in New York City, central Florida, California, Chicago and Philadelphia. CENTRO also holds the records of the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States, which extensively documents migration stateside throughout the 20th century. As Puerto Ricans in the diaspora, we know the impact of our communities across the United States and we understand the importance of guarding that history. You can be a part of this history! Join us for 3 days of community, archiving, and learning with CENTRO and our partners!

This event will have simultaneous English to Spanish translation for virtual participants.

Main image by Jose Ruben Gaztambide, 1975
1st Photo: Riche Perez Collection, Photographer unknown
2nd Photo: CENTRO Records, Hector Delgado Perez
3rd Photo by CENTRO Media

This event is produced in partnership with The Whitney Museum of American Art, Lesbian Herstory, DSL Archivo 310, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. This event is part of Borimix – Puerto Rico Fest!


(212) 772-5688

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2180 3rd Ave
New York, New York 10065
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Hybrid Hybrid Event

November 9, 2023 @ 8:00 am November 11, 2023 @ 5:00 pm EST