You’re all out there doing such interesting work, and the VR community is a small one, so let’s get to know each other better! If you’d be willing to spend 30-45 minutes talking to me via Gchat or Skype (video or non-video), or if you’d like to fill out a Member Profile Questionnaire, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
🙌Recipient of VRAF Internship Award 🙌
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position and how you got into the field of visual resources?
I am currently obtaining my masters degree in Nonprofit Management and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville. My area of research has focused in Indigenous art of North America, which lead me to my internship with the Lakota Dream Museum. Prior to returning to school I worked as a software consultant in semantic data technologies, and designed systems for complex compliance monitoring (taxes, collections, visas, permitting etc). I have always been artistically minded and wanted to shift my professional focus towards the creative arts.
What is your favorite part about your work? Can you describe any project(s) you’re currently working on?
I love working on projects that are going to promote the voices and talents of Native youth: after I have designed the ontology and implemented an interface for our digital collections, the Lakota Dream will implement a workforce development program that will not only offer youth the opportunity to develop visual resource management skills, but also to have a direct impact of the preservation and revitalization of their culture. I am also assisting students at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) apply for grant funding to advance their professional aspirations.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Right now my days are incredibly full. During a week day, I will spend the morning authoring grants and managing an AmeriCorps VISTA grant for a local program that supports post-resettlement refugees, immigrants and under-served populations. In the afternoons I have attend classes, and work on my masters thesis. Weekends are reserved for Lakota Dream, work all week and dream on the weekends!
What were some challenges you came across when you first started out in the field of visual resources?
I was introduced to the University of Louisville’s extensive print collection, and was really frustrated with the database system as well as the missing or omitted information. Having years of experience in database management, I thought there had to be a better way to both query and submit information. Working with the Lakota Dream has presented another challenge: how do we capture information about an object’s spiritual significance? If the acquisition of the object was through the repatriation act, what information is crucial to understanding the history of the object? By working with Indigenous historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and the data specialists at Semantic Arts we can create an ontology that addresses all these issues.
What skills do you use for your job that you didn’t learn while in school?
This one is easy: I learned nothing about de-colonizing museums. This has been a challenging task for me, as I have had to seek out specialists outside Western academia, I have had to re-frame my expertise, and completely change my understanding of museums and cultural centers.
Looking back, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the accomplishments I have achieved from networking. I learned about the Lakota Dream Museum and monument from a journalist who mentioned the new cultural center in passing, so I reached out to see if I could assist. I learned about the VRAF Internship Fund from a colleague who mentioned curatorial and museum grants in passing. Of course I felt I had to pay it forward! I have been able to share the knowledge and resources I’ve gained throughout the application process to encourage students at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) to explore opportunities in the visual resource field.
What is one thing in the visual resources field that you think is lacking or missing?
Diversity, like art history, curation, and museum management in general.
What is something that most excites you about the field of visual resources.
The cross-over to other subjects! I am still a data and coding nerd at heart, and while I would love this project to inspire a whole generation of Indigenous visual resource specialists, I would be proud beyond measure if we inspired data scientists, art historians, curators, archaeologists, or photographers.
Where else do you seek professional development opportunities other than VRA?
I spend a lot of time seeking professional grant writing and fundraising opportunities. It is a crucial skill for all nonprofits, and it somehow never gets easier.
What other professional organizations are you a part of? Do you find professional organizations valuable?
I belong to the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and participated in JCI (Junior Chambers International) in the Dutch Caribbean. I am always seeking to expand my understanding of my field and my personal development, and have a fear of getting stuck in a rut or routine.
Do you have any words of advice or wisdom for emerging professionals and students in this field?
Pick up the phone. Have a question? Pick up the phone. Want to know about funding opportunities? Mentoring or advise from someone whose career you admire? Phone. Collaboration, funding, travel opportunities, and any of your dreams are a phone call away.
What are some of your favorite things outside of work? What are some of your hobbies?
I will let you know when I have time to discover them!
Anything else you would like to add?!
I am always happy to help mentor young professionals through funding and project proposal opportunities, particularly young Indigenous professionals in the museum studies field. Any other professional or personal questions? Just pick up the phone!
You can email Adelaide at 📧 email@example.com