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Renowned art historian and photographer Deborah Willis will talk about how photographs capture history on Nov. 6

November 03, 2008

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Kelly Homan Rodoski

Deborah Willis, one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture, will visit Syracuse University Nov. 6 to talk about the importance of preserving the history of African American communities in Syracuse through a photography archive. She will speak at 6 p.m. in Watson Theater, part of the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, 316 Waverly Ave. Willis' presentation, sponsored by the South Side Initiative, Light Work and the Onondaga Historical Association, is free and open to the public.

Willis will talk about a project in Syracuse, led by the South Side Initiative Office, iSchool Professor of Practice Kenneth Lavender and African American studies professor Joan Bryant on collecting and preserving the history of black people in Syracuse. Lavender gave one workshop on archive building in October and will lead a second workshop on how individuals and families can preserve their historical family collections; this workshop will be held at Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Dunbar Center, 1453 S. State St., Syracuse. To register, call 443-1916; registration is free. Bryant will begin an archival and oral history project in January.

Willis is University Professor, 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.

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