Florida International University’s Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab (WPHL) has been awarded a $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a project to collect and preserve the stories of South Floridians.
The project, Community Data Curation: Preserving, Creating, and Narrating Everyday Stories, will leverage the WPHL’s strong community partnerships with eight South Florida archives, nonprofits, community centers, and museums and help digitize and preserve community stories. The WPHL will work with student interns to record oral histories and provide the necessary training and technical equipment so that these projects are sustainable and remain accessible to all in the community.
The project’s goal is to ensure voices that have been historically silenced or marginalized are heard and recorded on their own terms and made available for and by the community for generations to come. This approach goes along with the WPHL’s mission of bridging the divide between scholars and the public.
“We are honored to receive this grant from The Mellon Foundation,” said Rebecca Friedman, founding director of the WPHL. “This award will be transformative in the lives of so many, from individuals to communities to institutions. Thanks to the generosity of The Mellon Foundation, our FIU public humanities lab, in partnership with eight South Florida institutions, will participate in the preservation and creation of community stories. We are simply thrilled and honored to be part of this work.”
“We are proud to support the WPHL and FIU,” said Patricia Hswe, Program Officer for Public Knowledge at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Archiving and making these stories available to communities is vital.”
WPHL will work with communities that span South Florida, including eight confirmed community partners:
- Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center
- Historic Hampton House
- Museum of Graffiti
- Broward County Library’s African American Research Library and Cultural Center
- Jewish Museum of Florida–FIU
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- World AIDS Museum and Educational Center
- Stonewall National Museum and Archives
“We are grateful to The Mellon Foundation for supporting our FIU and the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab,” said Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation. “Advancing a vibrant, healthy Miami is a key objective of the Next Horizon campaign, and this work will play an important role in achieving that.”
The WPHL, FIU’s only humanities-oriented Emerging Preeminent Program, serves as the university’s hub for the humanities and public-facing research, teaching, and engagement. It seeks to coordinate and oversee the arts and humanities at FIU.