University Archivist, University of Maryland

Lae’l Hughes-Watkins

Thursday 14 November, 09:15 – 10:15

Lae’ l Hughes-Watkins is the University Archivist for the University of Maryland, in College Park. From 2013-2018 she served as the University Archivist at Kent State University, where her work included managing the Kent State May 4 Collection that documents the 1970 campus shootings by the Ohio National Guard during a protest against the Vietnam War. She also launched the Black Campus Movement project, an effort to document student activism and its impact on campus development in areas of curriculum, cultural activities, faculty, and admissions.

She is the Founder of Project STAND, the first-of-its-kind collaborative effort among archival repositories within academic institutions across the country to create an online portal, featuring analog and digital collections that document student activism that primarily focus on historically marginalised communities. In 2018 the consortia received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museums and Libraries (IMLS) for $92,000 to host four symposia from 2019-2020. The seminars will bring together archivists, technologists, educators, and activists, and will be live-streamed and recorded for remote participants. It will result in the development of educational resources for curating activism archives, a white paper outlining the next steps, and a broader network of collaborators for the STAND network.  This year, Project STAND was recognised by the council for Society of American Archivists at the Annual Conference for its contributions to the archives profession. Lae’l is a 2019 Mover and Shaker and received the 2018 Merit Award by the Society of American Archivists for her leadership in project STAND.

Her research focuses on outreach to marginalised communities, documenting student activism within disenfranchised populations, and utilising narratives of oppressed voices within the curricula of post-secondary education spaces. Her 2018 article, ‘Moving Toward a Reparative Archive: A Roadmap for a Holistic Approach to Disrupting Homogenous Histories in Academic Repositories and Creating Inclusive Spaces for Marginalized Voices,’ published in the Journal for Contemporary Archival Studies (JCAS), remains one of the most popular papers in the publication. Lae’l just finished co-writing a chapter entitled “Archives, Student Activism, and the Historian’s Classroom,” to be released by the Michigan State University Press by the fall and will be working on a follow-up piece looking at Project STAND as a reparative archive model.