Fernanda Espinosa to be a Smithsonian Fellow in Washington, DC

Fernanda is spending her Summer at the Smithsonian Institution in America’s Capitol

Ecuador native, New York based, Fernanda Espinosa is off to do a Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP). She will be working with Ranald Woodaman, Director of Exhibits and Public Programs (and LMSP alumn) – Smithsonian Latino Center, on the Latino DC History Project: Muralism project research.

The Latino DC History Project is a multi-year initiative to document, preserve, and share the stories of Latino/as in the institutions, culture, economy and daily life of the nation's capital. Working with the Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC) Exhibitions and Public Program Director, Fernanda will explore the feasibility of a long-term muralism project in DC as a component of the Latino DC History Project.

Fernanda Espinosa is an Andean immigrant based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a cultural organizer, language justice advocate, and oral history artist.  She is currently a Master of Arts candidate at Columbia University’s Oral History Program and holds a BA in Anthropology as well as in Latin American Literature.

Fernanda is a steward and co-founder of the People’s Climate Arts group, a diverse network of artists and cultural organizers that uses art and culture to help support, mobilize and amplify social movements, while simultaneously creating space for local, long-term projects. The group was a recipient of the 2015 Rauschenberg Foundation Artists as Activists fund. She also co-founded and is a project coordinator of Cooperativa Cultural 19 de enero (CC 1/19), an art and oral history collective working with interviews, murals, and other visual and audio tools. CC 1/19 received The Laundromat Project’s 2015 Create Change commission award.

As part of her thesis at Columbia Oral History MA, Fernanda is working on Hogar de la Distancia (Home of Distance), a sound and visual art project documenting stories of immigrants from Ecuador, one of the largest migrant populations in New York metropolitan area. The interviews and participatory efforts serve as points of departure that inspire audio-visual portraits put together in conjunction with the CC 1/19 collective. In addition to documenting the voices, the project seeks to make visible, honor and recognize the memory and experience of people who migrate and must navigate complex relationships with their loved ones and their homeland from a distance.

With the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program Fernanda hopes to expand her experience in intentional cultural work and continue to create bridges between institutions and Latinx communities by making visible their histories in the United States.  She is also excited to learn more about these communities in Washington through her practicum in muralism research.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation by James Smithson and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

If you would like more information about this Smithsonian Internships, Fellowships, and Research Associates, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or check out their website smithsonianofi.com

“You Can’t Just Create a Beautiful Space. It Also Has to Feel Safe to Be There.”

A Q&A with How We Go Home editor Sara Sinclair

Voice of Witness shares an inside look into one of the newest oral history projects from Voice of Witness: How We Go Home. Sara is an OHMA alum and is currently Project Coordinator for the Columbia Center for Oral History Research's Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project.

We’re excited to share an inside look into one of the newest oral history projects from Voice of Witness: How We Go Home.

How We Go Home will illuminate the experiences of Native peoples living on reservations in the U.S. and Canada. Narrators will describe the impacts of forced assimilation, displacement, and the human rights violations emerging from institutional problems within the reservation system, while revealing Native society’s incredible capacity for resistance, healing, and survival.

How We Go Home is one of six projects Voice of Witness is currently incubating through the VOW Story Fund, which provides oral history training, editorial guidance, and project funding to human rights storytellers in need of institutional support.

LV Communications: Stories that Make a Difference

Looking for an experienced communications professional and oral historian to help your campaign, organization, or family to tell your story? 

OHMA alum Leyla Vural has lauched a new venture, LV Communications: Stories that Make a Difference. Check it out.

And read about Leyla's vision:

I am most interested in our shared efforts to make the world a more just place. I studied oral history (and in May 2015 earned an M.A. in it from Columbia University) because I wanted to learn the newest methods in the oldest of traditions: listening to people share their experience. Life stories are about understanding the past, to be sure, but they're also about shaping the future. Oral history helps ordinary people (Studs Terkel called us the "etceteras") put ourselves directly on the record. That by itself is important, but listening to life stories also is a way to imagine a brighter day and sharing those stories is a way to push for change.

One of the things I love about oral history is that it’s communal. By definition, you can’t work alone if your work is about listening to people. In this way, oral history mirrors all efforts at social change and, of course, life itself. It’s not only better with other people, it’s impossible without them. Social justice may be a forever project, but together we can keep bending that arc of history while we find strength in one another and have some fun as we go.