2021 Election: Candidate Statements

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2021 Performing Arts Section election. Please take some time to review their candidate statements and get to know them so you can make an informed choice.

You will be voting for:

  • One Co-chair for a two-year term; and
  • 1 Steering Committee members (one-year term). 

Ballots will be managed by SAA staff through Survey Monkey; keep an eye on your inbox for when the ballot opens! 

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Candidates

The following candidates are running for the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (or Co-chair) position:

Katalin Rac

Katalin Rac trained as an archivist at the Center for Jewish History in New York and earned her Ph.D. in history at the University of Florida, specializing in modern European and modern European Jewish history. During the past six years, she has worked as Library Coordinator at the University of Florida’s Isser and Rae Price of Judaica Library. Since early childhood she has been an avid theater goer and dance enthusiast. She danced in a modern dance company and, stepping down from the stage, worked as a presenter and later as artistic director in a contemporary art center—a role she left behind when enrolling in graduate school. As an archivist, among a broad variety of materials, she has also processed playbills, posters, brochures, and musical notes and in her free time continues enjoying theater, dance, and classical concerts.


The worlds of the performing arts and archives are two professional universes in which I orient with confidence, curiosity, and professional humility. As a former dancer, I studied repertoire pieces available only through recording, thus understanding the limitations singular sources may place on recreation of past performances and the need for well-trained archivists and librarians who can assist such learning process. As an archivist, I wish to emphasize that performing arts collections, whether physical or electronic, offer more than service of documentation and preservation. Participating in the work of this section would allow me to inquire, learn about, and possibly contribute to the development of tools and processes, including new technology, that help preserve, broaden access to, and facilitate the enhancement of the educational and artistic content of performing archives items in collaboration with a cohort of experts sharing my interest in and passion for the performing arts. I wish to engender and help maintain informed conversations about performing arts in the archives and assist communication about work in performing arts collections nationally and internationally alike.

shady R. Radical 
Independent Researcher & Archivist, Ph.D. Candidate and Instructor, Moving Image Studies Program, Georgia State University 

shady R. Radical CA is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Film, Media, and Theatre at Georgia State University (GSU). She teaches Race and Representation in Film & TV; Documenting Performance; and The History of Film at GSU. Her research explores issues of the archive in Black cultural production.  For the past 10 years, she has been working in film and television production as a costumer primarily at Tyler Perry Studios.  She has also worked as a contributor for OZ Magazine; assistant reviews editor at Media Industries Journal; and content manager for Screening the South. Currently, shady is working on her dissertation tentatively titled: The Radical Archive of Performance: Issues of Preservation in the Archive which explores the intersection of the archive, blackness, and production culture.  

Candidate Statement

As someone relatively new to the field, I am excited to get involved with professional archivists working in performance.  I have worked in the live and recorded performance sectors for most of my career and am currently transitioning to more formal archival and academic research.  As co-chair, I look forward to sharing my experiences, passion, and training for the benefit of the profession.  I believe my editorial and administrative work have sufficiently prepared me for the writing, planning, and managing tasks of the role.  I am excited for the opportunity to be of service to SAA and hope to bring a little fun to the job. 


Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the section steering committee:

John Esh
Processing Archivist, Towson University

My name is John Esh and I am the Processing Archivist here at Towson University (TU) in Towson, Maryland. Growing up, I was surrounded by music and theater. My mother holds a degree in voice from Ohio State University and my father was an avid collector of music. I spent most of my 20's working in independent record stores and tending bar at various venues, gaining a vast appreciation for performance in all of its forms. In my position here at TU, I have had the pleasure of working with and completing multiple music oriented collections including that of jazz great Hank Levy, classical composer Jonathan Leshnoff, and beatboxer and breath artist, Shodekeh Talifero, and soon I will be delving into the Departments of Dance and Theatre. I feel strongly that my deep love for the performing arts and my experience with related collections would make me an ideal candidate for this position. Thank you for your time.

Hollis Wittman
Archives Assistant, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Hollis Wittman is a 2021 MS/LIS graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and she holds an MA in musicology from Western Michigan University. She worked in archives and special collections at WMU and she is a cataloger for multimedia materials at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning as well as an archivist at Sousa at UIUC. She works with both analog and digital records, but she is particularly interested in contemporary electronic and electroacoustic music preservation. 

Candidate Statement: I’m an early career archivist excited about getting involved with SAA! I have served in various roles on professional development organizations including Music Graduate Students at WMU and the UIUC Special Libraries Association chapter, and I enjoy supporting the work of professional organizations. I believe that networking among peers provides some of the best possible educational opportunities for everyone involved (especially me!), and I hope to combine my enthusiasm with the experience of my colleagues to serve the SAA community!  

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