Josephine Forman Scholarship: Hannah Gershone

Hannah Gershone, who will begin pursuing a master of library and information science at Simmons University in the fall, is the 2023 recipient of the Josephine Forman Scholarship sponsored by the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, in cooperation with the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The $10,000 scholarship provides financial support to students of color pursuing graduate education in archival science, encourages students to pursue careers as archivists, and promotes the diversification of the American archives profession.

Gershone’s scholarly work focuses on social and environmental justice, digital storytelling, and archives. She holds a master of science in environmental studies from the University of Oregon, and she plans to use her knowledge in this area to pursue ways at Simmons University for archival institutions to advocate for robust documentation and preservation of governmental response to climate change. Environmental justice and recordkeeping are particularly important to Gershone because, as she noted in her application essay, “Black, Indigenous, and communities of color are often on the frontlines of climate change, bearing the brunt of environmental oppression.” She applied these interests during her tenure as a 2022 Yale Environmental Fellow, when she developed three interactive maps of environmental justice grantmaking in Latin America from 1999 to 2022 to visualize philanthropic trends. For this project, she interviewed environmental grantmakers on resource “extractivism” and created a StoryMap on Colombian Indigenous-led movements to showcase their experiences. Moving forward, she hopes to continue to create strong community partnerships and digital storytelling projects around environmental justice issues as an outreach archivist or digital curator.

The SAA Awards Committee found Gershone’s work at the intersection of community memory, environmental justice, and ethnic studies commendable and forward-looking. As one supporter noted, “Gershone has been a joy to learn from and mentor on what it takes to develop and manage a digital collection and move into the professional direction of becoming an archives curator who supports postcustodial approaches to building and maintaining memory spaces.”