Spotlight Award: Marie Lascu

Marie Lascu, archivist for Crowing Rooster Arts in New York City and co-founder of Activist Archivists (2011–2015), is the 2016 recipient of the Society of American Archivists' Spotlight Award. Established in 2015, the award recognizes the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the profession and archival collections—work that does not typically receive public recognition.

Despite limited resources and staff in her role at Crowing Rooster Arts, a non-profit organization documenting the stories of Haiti’s struggle for democracy since 1980, Lascu has implemented infrastructure to digitize the organization’s physical media with the help of a wide network of like-minded professionals and open skill-sharing. She was selected for the Spotlight Award not only for these achievements but also for her commitment to community, activism, and advocacy for the archives. As a member of the XFR Collective, Lascu continues to support artists, non-profits, and individuals with limited resources in preservation efforts. Lascu also co-organized the 2015 Personal Digital Archiving conference, coordinated a series of education webinars hosted by the Association for Moving Image Archivists, and managed the planning of five workshops as part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services funded initiative, “Training for Moving Image Specialists in Libraries.” Her creative approaches to collection management, access, research, and technological innovation are a model for non-profit arts organizations, one that she has documented and shared openly with colleagues.

One supporter wrote, “For Marie, archives are not about things, not about what’s culturally important to a nation, but about people and relationships, about connection, about understanding one another through the sharing of words and images, and understanding ourselves by looking into the past to discover what we’ve accomplished.”