2022 Election: Candidate Statements

2022 Election: Candidate Statements

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2022 Visual Materials 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 (1) Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (or Co-chair), for a two-year term; and
  • Two (2) Steering Committee members, for three-year terms. 

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 candidate is running for the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect position:

Lilli Keaney

Harrison D. Horblit Photograph Librarian, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Biography

 

As the Harrison D. Horblit Photograph Librarian at Houghton Library at Harvard University, I get to work with the photographs in our collections every day. My day-to-day work focuses on description and digitization, but I also help with our teaching program. I am really excited about a new historical photograph visual literacy workshop I will be offering to students and staff. I hope this will facilitate an ongoing conversation around our photographs that I can build upon. Within the local Harvard community I serve on various working groups, including as chair of the Harvard Image Cataloging and Access Working Group. I have been a member-at-large of the Visual Materials section for the last three years.

 

Prior to Houghton Library, I worked with photograph collections at Schlesinger Library and JFK Library. I hold a MSLIS from Simmons University and a BA in Art History from UC Davis.

 

Candidate Statement

 

Professionally, I am particularly interested in how to best facilitate the discovery, access, and use of our images. Unique challenges are presented when we describe with text something that is intended to communicate visually. As Chair-Elect, I want to have these conversations! The Visual Materials section has created a three-year plan for the group, and there are a lot of exciting possibilities for us to rebuild our community after the uncertainty the last few years has brought. I have been working with the group over the last few years as a member-at-large, and I hope to bring continuity to our group by taking on the role of Chair-Elect.

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the open Member-at-Large section steering committee positions:

Amanda Claunch

Archivists, Photographs and Prints, Missouri Historical Society

Biography 

I am the Archivist for the Photographs and Prints collection at the Missouri Historical Society (MHS) in St. Louis. The collection contains over one million images depicting St. Louis’ visual history over three centuries, and it includes everything from lithographs and engravings of city founders and the early native inhabitants of the area to digital photographs of social justice protests from 2020. I have a Masters in American History and a bachelor’s in history from the University of Missouri St. Louis and have had the privilege of working at MHS for 25 years. There I’ve gained experience in all aspects of working with the collection including processing, cataloging, digitization, reference, and working on exhibition teams. Currently I focus on donor relations, grant writing, and collection and project management. I serve on our institutional Acquisitions, Curatorial Collections and Disaster Preparedness committees as well as working as a mentor for special collections departments trying to start digitization programs in libraries through a program sponsored by the Missouri library consortium and NEDCC. I also have been a peer reviewer for grant submissions to NHPRC and IMLS.

Candidate Statement

The past few years have been transformative for so many of us. They have convinced me even more than ever of the importance of the work that we do as archivists and the need to support each other and help each other to grow as we seek to document and serve our communities. I do not have any formal training in archives. Almost everything that I have learned to be successful in my career has come from reading SAA publications, attending conferences and workshops, and through the collective wisdom shared by my fellow members. I’d like to contribute by serving as a member-at-large for the Visual Materials section. Those of us lucky enough to work with images and audio-visual items know both their power and their special needs. I’d like to assist the steering committee as they chart the best way forward to help section members navigate their careers and be effective advocates for their collections.

Elizabeth Clemens

Audiovisual Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

 

Biography

For the past twenty years, I have served as an Audiovisual Archivist for the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University. In this position, I am responsible for the access to and care of an incredible collection of over two million images, 4,000 videos, 25,000 films and audio recordings, as well as textiles, graphic materials, and original artwork. Prior to this, I served as the Detroit News Collection Assistant, where I was first exposed to my great professional love: a photo morgue of 800,000+ original negatives that document the development of Detroit in the 20th century. I have a Master of Library and Information Science and certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Aquinas College, where I studied history and photography. My areas of interest lie in visual literacy, descriptive practices, and historic photographic processes. I am the author of two books, The Works Progress Administration in Detroit, and Detroit in World War I, and am the current editor for Views’ In Focus column.

 Candidate Statement

For myself, and I imagine many others, the last two years represented a general unmooring from familiar people, spaces, and practices, both professionally and personally. These radical changes provided space for training, discussion, debate, and reflection - and it has been really invigorating to see how the profession has responded. Visual Materials has always been a forum for professionals from different perspectives to come together and share information and experiences - it is what I love most about our group. I am applying for the member-at-large position with the intention of finding ways to encourage greater engagement within our community and foster further opportunities for professional growth.

 

Mari Khasmanyan

Project Archivist, Jay T. Last collection, The Huntington Library

Biography

My name is Mari Khasmanyan, and I am currently the project archivist for the Jay T. Last collection and other prints and ephemera collections at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California. In this role, I arrange and describe a variety of engravings, lithographic materials, and other graphic art formats which document the history of printing from the 19th to early 20th centuries. Prior to my role at The Huntington, I was an archivist at the University of California, Santa Barbara Library where I processed archival collections for the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA). The collections included manuscript materials, audiovisual materials, and sociopolitical screen prints and offset posters created by multicultural communities from the 1960s to current day.

In terms of educational background, I obtained a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Drexel University in 2018, a Master of Art in Art History and Visual Culture from Richmond, the American International University in London in 2019, and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Art History from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014.

Candidate Statement

I am interested in becoming the Visual Materials Section member-at-large because I’m eager to contribute to and help create a community of practice and practitioners for visual materials archivists. I first joined SAA in 2016 and I would be thrilled to take an active role in this section. Visual material archivists are often the only staff in their role with expertise in their work environments and I feel strongly that connecting with each other and building networks amongst ourselves is vital to strengthening our field. I am particularly interested in learning more about archival workflows practiced by colleagues and in discussing best description practices for visual art materials that promote equitable and inclusive descriptive practices for access and discovery. I would work to help build opportunities for discussion and peer-to-peer learning among our members and find out what topics and issues the members of the section are most interested in. To that end, I’m excited to learn that creating and executing a Three-Year Strategic Plan and Membership Survey are already established priorities for the section leadership.