The Women Musicians in Nashville Oral History project was completed between the summer of 2020 and fall of 2021. The collection currently consists of two-hour interviews with 15 Nashville women who are musicians, with more to come. You can access the collection at The Center for Popular Music in May of 2021.
While in graduate school, I learned to use Geographic Information Systems in my historical research. For my masters thesis, I used ArcGIS software to geolocate African American Entertainment venues in Rutherford County, Tennessee. Using historic maps as overlays, I was able to understand the spatial relationships between the location of venues and historic changes in the community resulting from urban development and road building projects during the 20th century.
While working under the direction of the CPM's lead and assistant archivists, I developed professional archival skills by working with a wide-variety of materials and manuscripts. I participated in the digitization, preservation, arrangement and description of The Beverly Ross and YEAH Collections.
I created descriptive research guides for the general public. The Special Topics in LGBTQIA+ Popular Music Culture and Women in Electronic Music guides demonstrate the usefulness and accessibility of the CPM's archives.
In 2018, I studied under Academy Award winning film writer, producer and director Paul Wagner, and Professor of Oral and Public History Martha Norkunas, also co-producer of the film.
As a class project for a graduate seminar in the Public History program at Middle Tennessee State University, I co-produced a short documentary film called The Making of Muna Muday.
The Making of Muna Muday is a short film portrait of a young woman who was born and grew up in a Somali refugee camp. At twelve years of age, she immigrated to Nashville, Tennessee. Today she is a young professional with a master’s degree in community health. Ms. Muday is a devout Muslim who passionately follows fashion trends in clothing and make-up. She grew up with traditional Somali music in the refugee camps, but now has eclectic tastes in music from Carrie Underwood to Beyonce to Bollywood. Ms. Muday is defining her identity as a young woman in an American society that often harbors misconceptions about Muslims and Somali refugees.
The film can be streamed online through Folkstreams, a non-profit dedicated to finding, preserving, contextualizing, and showcasing documentary films on American traditional cultures.
While working at the Center for Popular Music, I designed, staged, and authored the exhibit Eldorado Club and Rhythm and Blues in Post-WWII Murfreesboro which appeared in the lobby of the Center for Popular Music's Reading Room Library during the Fall of 2019 through the Spring of 2020. Below is Murfreesboro musician, Raymond Summerour, seen posing whose life and career in music inspired the exhibit. The items in the exhibit demonstrated the variety of holdings in the CPM's archives, as well as the intrinsic value for their use in academic research, and how the local club, Eldorado, is linked to the era between 1940 - 1960.
As an independent contractor, I worked with musicians, Thelma and The Sleaze, to design "pop-up museum" commemorating the release of their 2019 studio album and ten year anniversary as a band. The exhibit was showcased at Julia Martin Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee. I assisted with layout, and staging of the artifacts, as well as authored the museum panels.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC PROGRAMS
While at CPM, I worked with colleagues to coordinate, create and implement educational public programs to promote the center’s mission and collections:
The Southern Girls Rock n Roll Camp Reunion Show commemorated and celebrated the historic arts program, its alumni and The CPM's related, Y.E.A.H. Collection. Former SGRRC student and volunteer, Soccer Mommy (a.k.a Sophie Allison), gave a special concert performance.
I curated and planned A Virtual Night With Björk, the Vulnicura Virtual Reality Experience. The program was based on my experience traveling as a musician to Reykjavik, Iceland in 2016, where I experienced Björk Digital in-person. Designed to collaborate with colleagues from other departments in the College of Media and Entertainment, the program was meant to introduce students to the experience of a music as virtual reality, as well as the Center for Popular Music and the CPM's Reading Room Library as a popular music research facility. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was suspended indefinitely.
The Women Musicians in Nashville Oral History Panel is a virtual public program I created explaining my research and the use and function of oral history methods.
I have also worked with the private and non-profit sector helping design public programs and events to educate the community at the intersections of music, film, and activism my other passions.
With support from QDP, I helped the staff of Belcourt Theatre plan and host public programming for a documentary film series commemorating the 50th anniversary of New York City’s historic Stonewall Riots, and LGBTQ+ Pride month in Nashville, Tennessee. The series, called "Queer Qlassics," was awarded the Nashville Scene's Writer's Choice award for Best Film Series in 2019. Open since 1925, The Belcourt Theatre is Nashville's oldest and longest running cinema.
I am interested in the ways that technology can be used creatively and collaboratively to aid in the research, analysis, assessment and interpretation of historical data.
Specifically, I want to know how design, software and interdisciplinary work can further a more grounded understanding of social history and culture.
These historical renderings were designed using Computer Assisted Drafting (CAD) in collaboration with Zach Falor at UZF Design in Los Angeles, California. They depict The Moonlight Inn in Murfreesboro, Tennessee c. 1930s - 1940s.
The images were rendered based on court transcriptions obtained from the Rutherford County Archives. The transcripts come from witness testimony given at trial for a murder that took place at the venue in 1947. Sanborn Maps indicating the building were also used to understand the architectural layout, building design and materials used.
In order to breathe life into the designs, photos of patrons were imagined into the space using raster graphics editing software. These images of African Americans in their entertainment spaces were selected from the Charles “Teenie” Harris digital Collection at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
The maps and court depositions are perhaps the only known historical artifacts that exist that describe what the building, its location, ownership, and contents.
During the Fall 2020 - Spring 2021, I served on the Frist Art Museum's Community Advisory Board
The board was established as a way to consult and collaborate with respected community members on the creation of exhibition and non-exhibition programming that
reflects Nashville’s diverse community voices.
Community Board members included:
Tee Wilson (Gideon’s Army), Ashley Lawal (Urbannite), Chelsea
Kaiah James (artist), Megan Kelley (artist), Omari Booker (artist), Isabella Kelly (former Teen Art
Action Group), Wilna Taylor (Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, Vanderbilt);
Tiffany Minton (Belcourt Theater), Rocio Grissom (community member), and Crystal deGregory