The speakers will explore the particular ways that the New Orleans Historical team are digitizing the work of video documentary filmmakers and seeking to invest the broadcast documentary aesthetic into this new tool for connecting historians with the various publics. The work of New Orleans filmmakers since the 1960s advent of video technology has generated precious raw footage and edited productions, both of which are quickly disintegrating. Videotape allowed documentary filmmakers cheaper production costs to produce much more footage, but, as with digital materials, tape-stock is not nearly as long-lived as film. Most of these documentary productions have already disappeared from public exhibition because they long ago "aged out" of broadcast television. In the era of High Definition television, delivering documentary segments to mobile devices offers audiences in the streets access to these older productions; it also allows scholars and community historians access to a seemingly lost reservoir of 20th century resources.
Additionally, the speakers will reach beyond New Orleans to explore how historians throughout North America are using mobile tools and working with local communities to develop new modes of storytelling, new types of partnerships, and rich collaborations that reconstruct a sense of place through historical research, oral history, and community engagement.
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