RISD Archives Magnetic Media at Risk | LORI Grant Funded Digital Preservation Project

The RISD Archives, which is part of Fleet Library, owns more than 2000 time-based, magnetic media tapes (such as betamax, U-matic, and VHS) that are beginning to self-destruct and the recordings are at risk of being lost forever. Starting in Summer 2021, a cross-operational team from the library has been running a pilot with digitization specialists The MediaPreserve to digitize around 300 of these tapes. The process recovers the content and preserves it in a digital format that can be viewed online for years to come. This pilot batch of tapes includes 68 recordings of research studies and presentations related to the Universal Kitchen project (1990s), which had a major impact on how designers address accessibility and universal design issues. In addition, we are digitizing recordings of academic lectures and institutional events from the 1980s and 1990s that brought major artists, designers, writers, and thinkers of that period to campus. These recordings are being made widely available for the first time to the RISD community and to the world.

Project Team:

Emily Begin, Digital Production and Cataloging Specialist

Soul Brown, Director of Research

Douglas Doe, Digital Archivist

Margaret Lindon, Project Assistant

Andrew Martinez, Archivist

Margot McIlwain Nishimura, Dean of Libraries (Project Director)

Mark Pompelia, Visual + Material Resources Librarian

<p>This digital preservation project was made possible in part by a <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/grants/lori/2021/lgp.php">Libraries of Rhode Island (LORI)</a> grant from the <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php">RI Office of Library & Information Services</a> using funds from the <a href="https://www.imls.gov/">Institute of Museum and Library Services</a>. The project has also been made possible by the support of RISD's Office of Research & Strategic Partnerships.<br /><br /><a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php"><img src="https://olis.ri.gov/img/olislogo328.jpg" width="75" style="padding-right: 30px; float: left"/></a><a href="https://www.imls.gov/"><img src="https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/imls_logo_2c.jpg" width="200"></a></p>

Lee Hall Interviews
Lee Hall Interviews

Lee Hall Interviews

<p>This collection holds fourteen VHS tapes of interviews of artists, designers, and others conducted by Rhode Island School of Design President Lee Hall (1975-1983), circa 1981. Hall conducted the interviews at the New York offices of Needham, Harper and Steers, Inc. as part of a project for the proposed non-profit RISD Athena Productions. Organized in 1981 November and dissolved in 1984, the non-profit's purpose was to design and produce film, video, and other materials related to the educational mission of RISD. Most of the interviewees were recipients of an Honorary Degree or an Athena Award, 1977-1982. Paul C. Harper, Jr., Chair of NHS, served on the RISD Board of Trustees. The goal of the interview project was to edit each interview down to 10 minutes and then combine three for a 30 minute telecast, which appears to have never come to fruition. The unedited, approximately 60-90 min. interviews are presented here in raw form.</p>
<p>This digital preservation project was made possible in part by a <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/grants/lori/2021/lgp.php">Libraries of Rhode Island (LORI)</a> grant from the <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php">RI Office of Library & Information Services</a> using funds from the <a href="https://www.imls.gov/">Institute of Museum and Library Services</a>.</p> <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php"><img src="https://olis.ri.gov/img/olislogo328.jpg" width=75; style="padding-right: 30px; float: left"/></a> <a href="https://www.imls.gov/"><img src="https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/imls_logo_2c.jpg" width="200"></a>

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 1982-1987
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 1982-1987

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 1982-1987

<p>In the fall of 1981, RISD (under the leadership of President Lee Hall) received a $150,000 grant from the <a href="https://mellon.org">Andrew W. Mellon Foundation</a>, to be spread over a five-year period from 1982-1987. The goal of the grant was to support faculty and curriculum development through a series of seminars and lectures delivered by visiting artists and critics, and to distribute faculty awards for independent research. The series fostered and expanded students’ liberal studies and exposure to critical thinking.</p>
<p>President Hall’s 1981 grant application proposed <em>“senior level seminars for fine art students taught by outstanding contemporary artists and critics, public lectures by visiting artists and critics, and the establishment of a creative leave program for fine arts faculty members and for liberal arts teachers engaged in the history, philosophy, or criticism of art.”</em> The visiting artist roster included some of the most outstanding artists and intellectuals of the time, including Maya Angelou, John Updike, Fran Lebowitz, Cindy Sherman, Betty Williams, and John Cage. Six lectures were held per year at the RISD Auditorium, free and open to the public.</p>
<p>This digital preservation project was made possible in part by a <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/grants/lori/2021/lgp.php">Libraries of Rhode Island (LORI)</a> grant from the <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php">RI Office of Library & Information Services</a> using funds from the <a href="https://www.imls.gov/">Institute of Museum and Library Services</a>. <br /><br /><a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php"><img src="https://olis.ri.gov/img/olislogo328.jpg" width="75" style="padding-right: 30px; float: left"/></a><a href="https://www.imls.gov/"><img src="https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/imls_logo_2c.jpg" width="200"></a></p>

RISD/Arts & Humanities Lectures, 1987-1990
RISD/Arts & Humanities Lectures, 1987-1990

RISD/Arts & Humanities Lectures, 1987-1990

<p>After the completion of the <a href="https://digitalcommons.risd.edu/archives_andrewmellonlectureseries_lectures/">Andrew W. Mellon Lecture Series</a> in 1987, which firmly established visiting artist lectures as an invaluable addition to the liberal and fine arts education, the RISD community sought new funding opportunities to continue allowing students to engage with notable scholars. The resulting Arts and Humanities Lecture Series, which ran from 1987-1990, brought noted philosophers, historians, authors, critics, artists, and humanists to campus to expose student artists to broader perspectives.</p>
<p>The first two years of funding was provided by the R.I. State Council on the Arts, with further funding coming from private donors. Artists in the lecture series included Errol Morris, Adrienne Rich, Alexander Ginsberg, and Frances Fitzgerald.</p>
<p>This digital preservation project was made possible in part by a <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/grants/lori/2021/lgp.php">Libraries of Rhode Island (LORI)</a> grant from the <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php">RI Office of Library & Information Services</a> using funds from the <a href="https://www.imls.gov/">Institute of Museum and Library Services</a>. <br /><br /><a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php"><img src="https://olis.ri.gov/img/olislogo328.jpg" width="75" style="padding-right: 30px; float: left"/></a><a href="https://www.imls.gov/"><img src="https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/imls_logo_2c.jpg" width="200"></a></p>

The Nineties: Fin de Siecle or Vision of the Future | Faculty Symposium, 1990
The Nineties: Fin de Siecle or Vision of the Future | Faculty Symposium, 1990

The Nineties: Fin de Siecle or Vision of the Future | Faculty Symposium, 1990

<p>The three digitized VHS tapes record the Faculty Symposium "The Nineties: Fin de Siecle of Vision of the Future?" held in the RISD Auditorium 1990 October 12. Consisting of three sessions, the symposium featured RISD faculty and guest speaker Benny Andrews. The issues discussed included the controversy surrounding the National
Endowment for the Arts, the Helms Amendment, artist Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ", technology, computer design, databases, the concept of fin de Siecle, and censorship. Presentations are 20-30 minutes in length. The second file presenting video of Don Keefer's presentation (from VHS tape 2) includes several minutes of broken white line interfernce, but does not impact the audio.</p>
<p>This digital preservation project was made possible in part by a <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/grants/lori/2021/lgp.php">Libraries of Rhode Island (LORI)</a> grant from the <a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php">RI Office of Library & Information Services</a> using funds from the <a href="https://www.imls.gov/">Institute of Museum and Library Services</a>. <br /><a href="https://olis.ri.gov/index.php"><img src="https://olis.ri.gov/img/olislogo328.jpg" width="75" style="padding-right: 30px; float: left"/></a><a href="https://www.imls.gov/"><img src="https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/imls_logo_2c.jpg" width="200"></a></p>