Dance/USA Announces Launch of Archiving and Preservation Fellowships Program

August 12, 2019

CONTACT: Johanna Tschebull
202.833.1717 x106

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is excited to announce the launch of the Archiving and Preservation Fellowships (APF) Program, supported by a generous award of $450,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For three years, beginning in 2020, Dance/USA will award four summer Fellowships each year to library science students, who will be paired with professional mentors and will complete practicums in which they assist dance companies or independent artists with preserving and organizing their archives. 

APF jointly addresses two urgent challenges in the dance field: the need for hands-on assistance for independent artists and smaller dance companies to organize and preserve the records of their work, and the need for more archivists who are trained and experienced in handling dance materials. In 2018, Dance/USA awarded two pilot Fellowships to students based in Los Angeles and Chicago, who worked with two historic African-American dance companies: Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Joel Hall Dancers.

Building on this successful model, each round of APF will have a thematic focus on a particular type of collection or dance genre. Fellows will convene as a cohort at Dance/USA’s Annual Conference, receive support for professional development, and blog about their projects on Dance/USA’s website. Learnings and resources emerging from this program will be disseminated widely to both the archives and dance fields. In alignment with Dance/USA’s core values of equity and inclusion, the program will focus on increasing diversity in the archives field, and preserving the full array of voices, practices, and identities within dance communities throughout the United States.

“The legacy of dance communities throughout the United States is too often hidden and in danger of being lost,” said Imogen Smith, Dance/USA Director of Archiving and Preservation. “These Fellowships will enable Dance/USA to have a substantial impact on safeguarding these materials, while raising the visibility and demonstrating the value of dance archives.”

Amy Fitter, Executive Director of Dance/USA, added, “I am thrilled that our first national archiving program will build on the successful Fellowship model developed by Dance Heritage Coalition and extend its benefits to more artists, companies, and students.”

The application process for Fellowships will open in January 2020. News and updates about APF will be provided on the Dance/USA website here here. If you have any questions, please contact Imogen Smith, Dance/USA Director of Archiving and Preservation. Stay tuned during the coming months for more details about this program!

About Dance/USA 
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive. Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations. Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation.

In June 2018, Dance/USA announced a new strategic plan that establishes archiving and preservation as a core service. Dance/USA’s Department of Archiving and Preservation offers expertise on archiving practices specific to dance organizations and artists, building on the integration of Dance Heritage Coalition’s (DHC) successful programs. Since 1996, DHC advanced preservation through digitization and access to dance archives, education and training, and hands-on archiving help for artists and dance companies. Archival resources are freely available on Dance/USA’s website through the Artist’s Legacy Toolkit, Dance/USA offers archiving services for artists and dance companies, and the Archiving and Preservation Affinity Group provides a national network for dance archivists to collaborate and convene. Dance/USA’s Annual Conference offers opportunities to consult in person with archivists and attend panels and workshops on archiving topics. 

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