Zakiya Collier (@zzcollier) is a graduate student in New York University and Long Island University’s Dual-Degree MA/MLIS Program. Zakiya attended the 2017 DLF Forum with support from an HBCU Fellowship.
I found myself rereading Bergis Jules’, “Confronting Our Failure of Care Around the Legacies of Marginalized People in the Archives,” from the 2016 National Digital Stewardship Alliance annual meeting and paused at his mentioning of the DLF Mission and Community statement. From that point forward I began exploring DLF and discovered the upcoming forum. While I was already amazed that all that DLF and the 2017 DLF Forum had to offer, I was left fangirling with my mouth agape when I saw that the keynote speaker was none other than AfroFuturist Affair and Black Quantum Futurism’s Rasheedah Phillips. It was then that I knew that I had to be at this conference.
As you can imagine, I was both surprised and in disbelief when I received the notification that I had been awarded an HBCU Fellowship to attend the DLF Forum in Pittsburgh, PA. I am ever so grateful that I did as this was truly a rewarding experience. I didn’t know exactly what to expect as a graduate student attending her first conference in the librarianship field. However, the HBCU/LAC Unconference was tremendously comforting and affirming and I was touched at the levels of care and attention that the unconference provided to those who may not have had the opportunity to attend without the help of generous fellowships. At the Forum itself I felt right at home amongst all of the attendees, which included an outstanding number of librarians, archivists, and digital humanities professionals, so many of which I already followed on Twitter. I am thankful for the opportunity to have met and/or attend the presentations by so many people doing such incredible work within the realm of the digital.
One of my interests in attending the DLF Forum was to hear Rasheedah Phillip’s keynote surrounding her project, Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly, which proved to be as amazing as I expected. Moreover, I wanted learn more about the ways in which we, library/archives and digital humanities professionals, can learn from projects like Community Futurisms and encourage all individuals to employ the power of their own experiences in order to create a world in which everyone’s existence is recognized and validated. The Access+, Scholarship+, Curation+, Valuing Labor in Digital Libraries, Critical Cartography Across the Digital Library, Islandora: Community and Collections, and Community History and Public Work: New Voices in Digital Libraries panels were all especially helpful in helping me to explore and discover new ways of “envisioning something different” for libraries/archives/cultural institutions, and the marginalized communities they’ve failed to serve. Attending the forum has left me feeling inspired to continue learning from and collaborating with the digital library community. I am forever thankful to DLF and the HBCU Library Alliance for this amazing and I look forward to attending DLF Forums in the future.