The Modern Endangered Archives Program, a granting initiative launched in 2018 by the UCLA Library with support from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, has funded 29 new projects that will preserve at-risk materials as diverse as audio recordings of indigenous languages in Siberia, film periodicals from Pakistan and India, and photographs and maps from Peruvian Amazonia.

The program will also make the materials publicly available for researchers around the world.

These newly funded projects represent the program’s third cohort and will nearly double the scope of its work, bringing the MEAP’s total roster to 66 documentation and digitization projects in 34 countries.

“Despite a global pandemic and the threat of climate change to cultural heritage, the UCLA Library’s Modern Endangered Archives Program continues to make steady progress working with our international partners to digitize at-risk collections and to publish them online,” said Ginny Steel, the Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian. “This crucial work aligns with the UCLA Library’s mission to make diverse collections and resources available to current and future generations of faculty, students and international scholars.”

This year’s projects will augment earlier collections that document human rights activism, political movements and indigeneity across regional boundaries and expand the scope of MEAP by preserving collections related to film censorship, fine art, radio broadcasting in Africa and cultural production (i.e. newspapers, posters and newsletters) in endangered languages. 

Concurrently, the program’s earliest funded projects are moving forward despite pandemic-related delays. The Modern Endangered Archive Program website now hosts open-access archival materials from five collections, including:

“The Modern Endangered Archives Program is proud to continue supporting projects that preserve communal memory and underrepresented voices,” said Rachel Deblinger, director of the Modern Endangered Archives Program. “We are inspired by our partners who continue to steward collections through political, economic, cultural and climate-related change. In the wake of recent global events such as the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, increased civil unrest and electricity deficiency in Lebanon and the earthquake and presidential assassination in Haiti, we believe this work is more vital than ever.”

Detailed descriptions of the 2021 funded projects

MEAP has two possible grants available. Planning grants ($15,000) are for one-year projects to evaluate or survey collections for digitization or curation. Project grants ($50,000) digitize archival content or curate already-digital assets and create robust documentation that contextualizes the published digital collection.

Project grants

The Biblioteca Amazónica: History and Politics Between the Forest and City (Peru)
Host institution: UC Santa Cruz
Project leads: Amanda Smith, UC Santa Cruz; Sydney Silverstein, Wright State University; Ana Varela Tafur, independent researcher, poet, Iquitos native

South Asian film magazines (India)
Host institution: Shabistan Film Archive
Project lead: David Boyk, Northwestern University

Preserving and publishing the largest Afro-Uruguayan multimedia archive
Host institution: Asociación Pro Fundación para las Ciencias Sociales
Project lead: Diego Sempol, University of the Republic (Uruguay)

Voices of pre-industrial Siberia: Collections of the Pushkin House (Russia)
Host institution: University of Aberdeen (UK)
Project leads: David Anderson, University of Aberdeen; Svetlana Podrezova, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House); Dmitry Arzyutov, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden).

Endangered archives from Sufi shrines of the Afghan-Pakistan frontier (Pakistan)
Host institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Project leads: Waleed Ziad and Rustin Zarkar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The sound archives of Radio Rurale de Kayes (Mali)
Host institution: Association des Radiodiffuseurs de Kayes (ARKDR)
Project leads: Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France). Darrar Ben Zaour Maguiraga, Association des Radiodiffuseurs de Kayes (Mali)

Memory of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement
Host institution: Casa Brasileira de Pesquisa e Cooperação (Brazil)
Project leads: Jade Percassi, Casa Brasileira de Pesquisa e Cooperação. Clifford Andrew Welch, Federal University of São Paulo

Queering Polish Memory
Host institution: Fundacja Q (Poland)
Project lead: Karolina Ufa, Fundacja Q

Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote (Mexico)
Host institution: Casa del Ahuizote
Project lead: Diego Flores Magon, Casa del Ahuizote

Memory and identity of Afro-Brazilian archives
Host institution: Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning
Project leads: Marcia Lima and Paulo Ramos, Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning and University of São Paulo

JADEAS Trust Archive (Nigeria)
Host institution: UCLA African Studies Center
Project leads: Andrew Apter, UCLA; Yetunde Aina, JADEAS Trust Archive (Nigeria); Larissa Schulte Nordholt, University of Leiden (Netherlands)

Curation and digitization of the Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara (Bolivia)
Host institution: Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara
Project lead: Denise Arnold, Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara and University College London (UK)

Ustadh Mau Swahili Muslim Library (Kenya)
Host institution: Leiden University (Netherlands)
Project lead: Annachiara Raia, Leiden University

Preserving Humun Bichig newspaper through digitization (Mongolia)
Host institution: Monsound and vision foundation (Mongolia)
Project lead: Bayasgalan Bayanbat, Monsound and Vision Foundation

Planning grants

Rescuing two key series of the Old Prison Isla Teja Archive (Valdivia, Chile)
Host institution: Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile)
Project lead: Roberto Bosshardt, Austral University of Chile

Historical memory of Brazil’s National Federation of Domestic Workers
Host institution: Federação Nacional das Trabalhadoras Domésticas (Brazil)
Project leads: Meg Weeks, Harvard University; Joaze Bernardino-Costa, University of Brasília

The Lubumbashi Art Collection archive: Survey and evaluation (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Host institution: Centre d’art Waza (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Project leads: Sari Middernacht and Patrick Mudekereza, Waza Art Center

Film censorship in Argentina
Host institution: Asociación Civil Amigos del Museo del Cine “Pablo Christian Ducrós Hicken” (Argentina)
Project leads: Ana Laura Lusnich, Universidad de Buenos Aires and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research; Pamela Gionco, Universidad de Buenos Aires; Paula Félix Didier, Museo del Cine

Archivo Amé (Argentina)
Host institution: Universidad Nacional de General San Martín: TAREA - Instituto de Investigaciones sobre el Patrimonio Cultural (Argentina)
Project leads: Carolina Cappa, Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola (Spain); Julieta Sepich, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Preserving the Organization of Indigenous Doctors of Chiapas Collection (Mexico)
Host institution: Micaela Icó Asociación Civil (Mexico)
Project lead: Susannah Daniels, women and midwives’ section, Micaela Icó Asociación Civil

The Kashmir Valley Archive (India)
Host institution: Ryerson University (Canada)
Project leads: Nathaniel Brunt Ryerson University; Alison Skyrme, Ryerson University Library

Visualizing Memory: Indigenous Resistance in Chiapas, Mexico
Host institution: Americas Media Initiative (United States)
Project leads: Alexandra Halkin, Americas Media Initiative; Erica Wortham, New York University Libraries; Francisco Vazquez, Promedios de Comunicacion Comunitaria (Mexico)

Recovering Pablo Salas’s visual archive on the Chilean dictatorship
Host institution: Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano (Chile)
Project lead: Andrés Estefane, Center for the Study of Political History, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile)

Afro-Indigenous Brazilian struggles for recognition: Videos and photos
Host institution: Nutes Institute of Science and Health Education, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Project leads: Ana Lúcia Nunes de Sousa, Federal University of Rio de Janiero; Victoria Birkbeck, Enugbarijo Communications

Voices of Marginalized Communities in Egypt
Host institution: Cotsen Institute for Archeology, UCLA
Project lead: Willeke Wendrich, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

Digitizing vulnerable community-held archives of human rights in Colombia
Host institution: The University of Liverpool (UK)
Project lead: Claire Taylor, University of Liverpool

Elusive voices: Preserving the stories of elderly Palestinian refugees (Lebanon)
Host institution: Carleton University (Canada)
Project leads: Chris Trainor and Laura Madokoro, Carleton University; Hicham Kayed, AL-JANA (Lebanon)

Digitization of the folklore archive at the Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature (Tajikistan)
Host institution: Folklore studies program, George Mason University
Project leads: Benjamin Gatling, George Mason University; Boymurod Sharifzoda, Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature

Portrait photography in Cameroon: Studio Kameni
Host institution: University of Bremen (Germany)
Project lead: Martin Gruber, University of Bremen

Preliminary applications for the fourth cohort are due Nov. 15. MEAP welcomes applications for projects designed to preserve, document and digitize at-risk archival collections from the 20th and 21st centuries.