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Renowned art historian, photographer Deborah Willis will talk about how photographs capture history on April 8
Renowned art historian, photographer Deborah Willis will talk about how photographs capture history on April 8March 31, 2009Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Deborah Willis, one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture, will visit Syracuse University on April 8 to talk about the importance of preserving the history of African American communities in Syracuse through a photography archive.
Willis will speak on “Reflections in Black” at 4 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. The presentation, sponsored by the Syracuse University South Side Initiative, Light Work, U.Encounter, the Onondaga Historical Association and the Community Black History Preservation Project, is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Irving Garage.
Willis will talk about the value of photographs in documenting history, and how they can be woven into the Community Black History Preservation Project currently underway in Syracuse. The project, developed last year by the South Side Initiative Office, iSchool Professor of Practice Kenneth Lavender and African American Studies Associate Professor Joan Bryant, is aimed at collecting and preserving the history of black people in Syracuse. Bryant is currently working on developing an oral history collection and will offer two workshops in April. Bryant will conduct an oral history fair on Wednesday, April 1, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Dunbar Center, 1453 S. State St., Syracuse. She will present a second workshop on how to use the Internet to research family history at Mercy Works, 1221 S. Salina St., on Wednesday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. Both workshops are sponsored by the South Side Initiative in partnership with SU’s Department of African American Studies. Those interested in attending the workshops can register by calling 443-1916.
Willis is University Professor and chair of the photography and imaging department at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and holds an affiliated appointment with the university’s Africana Studies Program. She was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, a 2000 MacArthur Fellow and the 1996 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award.
Her work was exhibited in SU’s Light Work Gallery in 2003-04.
The South Side Initiative is a partnership between the Southside Community Coalition and SU’s Faculty for Community Engagement, a group of professors committed to participatory research that benefits the City of Syracuse. The goal of the initiative-which is part of the University’s commitment to Scholarship in Action?-is to restore, revitalize and rejuvenate Syracuse’s South Side neighborhood.