NYU Graduate Program In Moving Image Archiving and Preservation
Curriculum and Plan of Work
The MIAP curriculum as a whole is discussed in the section ―NYU’s MIAP Program‖
(above). Here we will only discuss the program elements that we’re asking NEH to fund.
We are requesting funds for a particular set of start-up activities for our program. These
activities (outlined below) include: curriculum development for the program’s second
year, stipends for students to gain hands-on work experience in moving-image humanities
collections, funding for student group instructional visits to Library of Congress
preservation facilities, an outside speaker series to both increase student cohesion and to
raise the profile of moving image preservation in the outside community, transportation
for all students to the 2006 Orphans Film Symposium, and supplies for laboratory
courses. Most of what we are requesting are initial costs in establishing such a program;
these will not be ongoing costs.
We will be guided by a 4-member Advisory Board including leading experts in film
preservation, video preservation, and conventional archival practices. All 4 Board
members are leading educators, and well-connected in the field (see section on Advisory
Board membership). The role of the Board will be to advise us on who to hire as external
curriculum consultantsand and to advise on other matters that emerge.
Most of the Board’s business will be conducted by email and conference call.
Approximate Cost for Advisory Board: $3,000 conference call services
curriculum development for the program’s second year
We are requesting funds to hire outside consultants to help our instructors develop
curriculum for the 2nd year of our program.1 The department has already committed
funds for ongoing instruction, and we have selected a set of instructors with extensive
pedagogical experience as well as significant subject matter expertise. But we are
requesting NEH funding for the start-up costs of bringing in consultants to help our
instructors develop and revise curriculum for each of our eight 2nd year courses.
No textbooks and very little literature exists for the type of material we seek to cover.
Many of our 2nd year courses are highly technical (Handling New Media; Film
Restoration; Video Restoration; Digital Preservation and Restoration), and much of the
(sparse) literature in that area assumes that the reader is an advanced professional already
working in the field. These technical courses will require both the development of
introductory instructional material, and sets of practical laboratory exercises. They will
see Appendix A1 for a full list of courses and brief descriptions, and Appendix A2 for initial syllabi for these courses
also require amassing numerous concrete examples (such as showing before-and-after
examples of various restoration attempts and processes).
For most of our 2nd year courses that are less technical (Access to Moving Image
Collections; Copyright, Legal Issues, and Policy; The Archive, the Collection, the
Museum; Curating, Programming, Exhibiting, and Repurposing/Recontextualizing
Moving Image Material), even less teaching/training material exists. As the 1994 report
by the Librarian of Congress noted, this field has been primarily an apprenticeship one,
and little formal education has taken place. The other US educational and training
programs treat most of these subjects in a very light way (either as small modules within
a broader class, or through guest lectures). Our program seeks to make these more
fundamental parts of the educational experience, but that will require significant work in:
building curriculum, developing instructional models, gathering examples from highly
ephemeral literature (such as leaflets handed out in the course of archival screening
series), recording interviews with key individuals discussing what they do and how they
do it, etc.
Our Advisory Board will help us select the most appropriate consultants. Because this is
such a crucial part of our Project, we have selected an Advisory Board that is ideally
suited for this. Three of the Advisory Board members are highly active in the primary
professional organization for this field – The Association of Moving Image Archivists
(AMIA), and the 4th member is highly active within the Society of American Archivists.
All have been active in these organizations for a long time, and between them are well
acquainted with most individuals active in the field. In addition, all 4 are experienced at
teaching and training (the 3 AMIA members are instructors in the official AMIA
preconference workshops, and the 4th directs a masters degree program in Archival
Management), making them ideally suited to understanding details of our curriculum
needs and how modules can be best arranged for instruction. All this makes our
Advisory Board well suited to select the most appropriate consultants for curriculum
In early 2004 (before the start of the grant period), the Advisory Board will help us select
and negotiate with one consultant for one or two of the 8 courses. In May 2004 (at the
start of the grant period) the course instructor will begin discussions with the
consultant(s) over the overall curriculum. Over the course of summer 2004 they will
together revise the course syllabus and identify instructional material that needs to be
developed. The consultant(s) will spend approximately 7 consulting days both working
with the instructor and creating course materials on their own (or in consultation with
their colleagues). The first time the course is actually taught, the consultant will make a
three-day site visit to NYU. During this visit they will spend one consulting day giving a
guest lecture in that class and meeting with students, 1.5 days meeting with the class
instructor and MIAP Director to assess the curriculum they have developed and plan for
further curriculum development, and an additional half-day either working on further
curriculum development or giving a public lecture as part of our Moving Image
Preservation series (see ―Public Lecture Series‖ below). Based both on their onsite
discussion over curriculum and on course evaluations, the consultant(s) will do an
additional 4 days of offsite curriculum development over the next year. The second time
the course is taught, they will come for one additional 3-day onsite visit similar to the
first, but in this visit they will finalize their contribution to the course.
Consultant(s) for each course will work a total of 17 consulting days. Each consultant
will provide deliverables in the form of: a public lecture (which we will videotape and
make widely available), an additional course lecture (which we will also videotape,
primarily for internal use), interim curriculum modules which will be tested in the
classroom by the instructor, and a final set of course modules at the end of the project.
The instructor and Program Director will negotiate timetables and interim deliverables
with each consultant, based on the needs of that particular course and the Consultant’s
availability. We will also hire an assistant researcher to work with the Consultants and
instructors in building and revising the curriculum.
We have thusfar selected one potential curriculum consultant to show that there are
highly qualified professionals with instructional experience who would be interested in
serving as consultants for this project. Nancy Goldman (Head of the Pacific Film
Archive’s Library & Film Study Center) is one of the most prominent professionals in
North America in terms of providing reference-type access to researchers interested in
moving image materials. She has conducted dozens of workshops, training sessions, and
lectures on the topic. She is very active in collaborative national and international
projects. And she has developed innovative reference/access projects.
Though the cost of this portion of the project is significant, it is a one-time cost whose
benefits extend for a very long time period and well beyond our MIAP Program. These
are upfront costs for establishing an initial curriculum that will only need minor annual
revisions for many years into the future (and those revisions can easily be covered by
regular NYU operating costs). The 10 public lectures given by the Consultants will
become important instructional tools for all programs in moving image preservation, as
well as for other preservation programs that wish to teach one or more modules on
moving image preservation. In this area we are trying to be as cost-effective as possible:
tying consultant onsite visits to both public lectures and guest lectures in classes,
handling as much of the work as possible by email and phone, etc. NYU will contribute
cost-share to this in terms of an additional 5% time for each faculty member teaching a
course, and much larger amounts of time from the Program’s administrative team
(Howard Besser, Mona Jimenez, and Alicia Kubes).
Approximate Cost: 5 Consulting slots, each involving: 17 consulting days [10 year-one,
7 year-two] @ $700/day=$59,500; Travel including 2 3-day trips to NYC [air fare—2
west coast+2 east coast,+ 1 local, ground transport, 4 nites lodging per person per trip,
meals]=$3640.*5 Consultants=$18,200*2 years=$36,400; 1 assistant researcher
@$21,590 year-one, 22,412 year-two =$139,902- total 2-year cost.
stipends for student work in moving-image humanities collections
We are requesting stipends as part of our training program to support student hands-on
work experience in nonprofit moving-image humanities collections. This activity will
serve double-duty: both giving students valuable experience in these types of collections,
and helping these collections to move forward with moving image preservation and
As noted above, a key element that differentiates NYU’s program is giving the students
hands-on work experience in a variety of different collections. And because of the rigor
of NYU’s program, students will be unable to hold outside jobs during the 21 month
period of their Masters program. Stipends tied to actual work experience in nonprofit
humanities collections will: encourage students to pursue internship-type opportunities in
humanities collections (rather than in sites like the Museum of Natural History), act as
financial aid to help the students through our program, and provide important assistance
to these nonprofit collections.
This type of work experience will only take place in institutions where we are sure that a
working professional will be available to mentor the student. We have had discussions
with a number of different institutions, and thusfar have established relationships to place
our students in the following institutions that have highly qualified professionals who can
act as mentors (see Appendix for support letters):
The Henry Hampton Collection at the University of Washington in St. Louis is
the premiere collection of audio and audiovisual materials relating to the
American Civil Rights Movement. The materials were collected in connection
with the various documentary films made by the late Henry Hampton, and his
production company Blackside, Inc. Included in the archive is the original (pre-
editing) film and video used to make most of Blackside’s productions, including
their award winning series "Eyes on the Prize." The 35,000-plus items in the
collection include more than 570 hours of original footage, 730 hours of stock
footage, photographs, scripts, storyboards, producer’s notes, interviews, music,
narration, posters, study guides, and other materials.
New York Public Library (NYPL) has several very important and large
collections of moving image material at its Schomburg Center, in the Humanities
Manuscript Collections, and at its Library for the Performing Arts. An accessible
Archive of Black Films is projected for the Schomburg Center which will
document the contribution to and involvement of African-Americans in the
motion picture industry. The Film Library at Donnell Library Center,
administered by the Branch Libraries, is both a circulating and a preservation
collection, incorporating 16mm documentary sound films on a wide variety of
subjects.. The Film Library also maintains a reference collection of books,
magazines, distributors' catalogs, producers' catalogs, subject lists, and film
evaluations. NYPL’s Jerome Robbins Dance Film Archive incorporates
approximately 1,250,000 feet (2,200 reels) of motion picture film and videotape
illustrating the work of dance companies and artists from the United States and
abroad. These represent both commercial and privately produced films.
The American Museum of the Moving Image (AMMI) is dedicated to
educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film,
television, and digital media, and to examining their impact on culture and
society. It achieves these goals by maintaining the nation's largest permanent
collection of moving image artifacts, and by offering the public exhibitions, film
screenings, lectures, seminars, and other education programs. AMMI has just
hired a moving image specialist who will supervise MIAP student interns.
We are in discussion with other nonprofit humanities organizations, and will add those to
our list of work experience opportunities based on our assessment of the organization’s
mentoring capability and prioritization set by our Advisory Board.
Students will rotate between work experience opportunities in order to give them each a
chance to experience multiple institutional environments. And every two weeks the
students will meet as a group with the MIAP Program Director to share their work
experiences with each other, and have the Program Director help contextualize that
We will pay stipends of $5,000 per semester and expect the student to put in
approximately 15 hours of work/week for 15 weeks (which works out to approximately
$20/hour). We will also provide stipends of $13,000 for fulltime summer work (which
again works out to around $20/hour plus a very small amount of funding for relocating
outside the NYC area for the summer). We want to use stipends for 1 students per
semester and 2 students per summer for each of the 2 years of the grant period.
In the long run, we expect to replace these stipends with a more regular form of funding
for student work experience. We have already engaged in discussions with our Dean
over raising an endowment to fund this activity. And we have proposed to several
nonprofits the idea of building work experience for our students into future funding
proposals they develop (or we jointly develop together). But it will be several years
before we can become completely self-sufficient in this important area.
Approximate Cost: each year 1 student stipends for each of 2 semesters ($5,000*2) + 2
summer stipends ($13,000*2)=$36,000 (2 year total $72,000)
Public lecture series
We propose a monthly public lecture series to both increase student cohesion and to raise
the profile of moving image preservation in the outside community. And we will create
videotapes of these lectures so that other educational programs in preservation can use
Bringing in outside lecturers will exposing our students to the movers and shakers in the
field, and will provide them with significant role models. We will publicize these
lectures widely both in the professional community and amongst the related NYU
academic programs (paper archives, art conservation, and museum studies), and expect a
high degree of attendance from among these other groups. We hope that such a series
will raise the profile of moving image preservation amongst working professionals (and
students) who specialize in conservation and preservation of other types of formats. And
receptions immediately following the lectures will encourage our students to find
commonality with preservationists of other type of media. We expect that this will also
provide the added benefit of cross-fertilization between our students and those of the
other NYU preservation-related academic programs.
The speakers will be chosen by our Advisory Board. We will be seeking speakers
involved in moving image preservation who can give dynamic lectures that also exert
some appeal to those outside the moving image preservation field. To minimize costs,
half our speakers will come from our set of outside curriculum Consultants (and
effectively the cost of their lectures is built into their consulting cost as outlined under
―curriculum development‖ above).
We will videotape all the public lectures. We will request that each outside speaker sign a
Creative Commons copyright agreement allowing us to make a video of their Talk
available to other non-profit educational institutions. Videos of Talks by high-quality
speaker will also benefit all other moving image preservation programs, as well as more
general preservation programs that wish to include short moving image components.
Approximate Annual cost for each of 2 years: Publicity and refreshments $1,000;
honoraria for 5 speakers $1500; videotaping and titling of 10 lectures with both master
and 3 circulating copies $4050=6550/year*2 years=$13,100
transportation to Orphans Film Symposium
According to Film Foundation President Martin Scorsese, the Orphans Film Symposium
at the University of South Carolina ―has become an important gathering place for people
engaged in the preservation, study and use of motion pictures. … These unique symposia
bring together an eclectic mix of professionals and enthusiasts who share a common
concern but who have no other regular meeting ground. "Orphans of the Storm"
assembles an international group of archivists, scholars, curators, collectors,
programmers, and filmmakers who work with orphaned material. Rare moving images
from the past are screened alongside new films by artists and documentarians.
Participants discuss their latest research and discoveries. As cinema enters a new digital
era, the millions of feet of film that represent our record of the 20th century stand in need
of rescue and rediscovery. The majority of this footage consists of a diverse group of
orphan films. Only the collaboration of an equally diverse set of critical minds working in
film and video will allow us to realize the value of these amazing images and sounds.‖
We intend to bring our entire group of students to the 2006 Orphans Film Symposium.
This Symposium offers a unique educational experience for future moving image
archivists. Our students will: see discussions of a wide variety of restoration and
preservation techniques; be exposed to a number of unusual film formats and methods for
handling them; and see vivid examples of the relationship between preservation,
scholarship, and exhibition. But most of all, we expect our students to be inspired by the
enthusiasm exhibited by the professionals and collectors who come to this conference.
As an experiment, in the Fall of 2003 our students will be doing research on preservation
of several items from the University of South Carolina Archive, and one of them will be
selected to present their work at the April 2004 Orphans Symposium. If this works out as
well as we expect, the Orphans organizers will likely provide a more active role for
student research at their 2006 Symposium.
Approximate Cost: Hotel $2,000; Registration $3,000; Transportation $2,000=$7,000
supplies for laboratory courses
We are requesting funding for supplies for a film inspection station and a video
reformatting station. Though students will have access to both of these at commercial
labs and while working in the Bobst Library, it is important that they have hands-on
practice on such stations within the department. Students will have instruction on these
as part of classroom laboratory work, and will engage in numerous projects and exercises
using these facilities.
Supplies for the film inspection station include: rewinds, splicers, split reels, gloves,
cement, film cleaner, leader, and cans. Supplies for the video reformatting station
include both 124 minute and 40 minute digital betacam tapes.
Approximate Cost: film inspection station supplies $3,478; video reformatting station
supplies $2,220=$5,698 total