Congratulations to Allie Whalen, Recipient of Two Grants

Please join us in congratulating Allie Whalen, Senior Audiovisual Preservation Specialist at the UCLA Library, who has been awarded two highly regarded grants to conduct international field research on preservation and access for audiovisual cultural heritage collections.

One is a Research Travel Grant from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) to complete a project in Cuba on the history of the independent sound recording industry.  The other is a prestigious 2020-2021 Fulbright Open Study/Research Scholarship to undertake a project in Uruguay focused on the cultural history of underground music during the 1970s to 1990s dictatorship, and how preservation and access have shaped the movement’s collective memory in archives, libraries, and community collections.

To find out more about these achievements, we asked Allie Whalen a few questions:

How has your experience at the UCLA Library led to you receiving these awards? 
Through my position as Senior Audiovisual Preservation Specialist in the UCLA Library Preservation and Conservation Department, I have had the opportunity to greatly expand my knowledge and skills in my field on both local and international levels. Over the years working at the UCLA Library, my department encouraged me to develop our audiovisual digitization capabilities and preservation goals, participate in community-driven projects, work with artists and researchers to provide access to the Library’s collections, and collaborate with international partners. I believe these experiences definitely contributed to my selection for both the ARSC Research Travel Grant and the Fulbright Scholarship, since both organizations focus on building cultural connections and understanding through community collaborations and sharing knowledge.  

How will this impact your work at the UCLA Library? 
I believe that these projects will enhance both my work and the work of my department at the UCLA Library by building international partnerships; expanding knowledge about the composition, conservation, and history of archival materials; and giving me an opportunity to learn about other projects dedicated to audiovisual preservation that include technical resources, digital tools and software, analog and digital equipment studies, and digitization and conservation workflows. 

What is next for you?
I feel very grateful and honored to have received these awards, and I am excited to apply all my experience towards these research projects. Due to COVID-19, planning international research has been challenging, but with the incredible support of my department at UCLA I have been able to develop flexible schedules to take temporary leave in order to conduct my research projects. I am currently in Havana, Cuba, to conduct my research for the ARSC Travel Grant. Once I complete this research, I will begin my Fulbright scholarship in Uruguay. I believe this will be a smooth transition since both of the projects complement each other greatly with a consistent focus on audiovisual archives, music, and cultural history. After my research trips, I plan to share and build on my experiences from the projects with my department at the UCLA Library as well as the international field of audiovisual preservation through articles, presentations and workshops.

Where can we find the announcements of these awards?
I was sent emails to notify me of my receipt of these awards. Fulbright has not made any official announcements, but ARSC sent out an announcement to the organization listserv list as well as posted the awarded projects on their website in the grants section.

Congratulations again, Allie! You can contact her at awhalen@library.ucla.edu.