A year in review: 2016-2017

Spring has sprung and I figured it was time to do a quick update on my year in review–what a year it has been. It has been a time of ruptures, change, struggle, and growth. But all said and done, I’ve enjoyed the ride and I am looking forward to the projects and work that will come with the groundwork I’ve laid during the past twelve months:

April and May 2016 were the last two months of my Fulbright grant (you can read about my thoughts on that in my post for the SAA ERS Blog) , and I was working on doing my final interviews and preparing to return to the United States to begin a PhD program. The prospect of leaving Mexico City was tough on me, but I planned on tying Mexico into my PhD research as a way to keep Mexico

Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México (by Natalie Baur. Ambrotype, 2017)

and my Mexican colleagues in my life.

June came and I set off to Quito and Cañar in Ecuador to work with Judy Blankenship on the Archivo Cultural de Cañar. I worked with Judy the year before during the Itinerant Archivists’ inaugural study trip to Ecuador, where we had meetings with archivists in Quito and the town and indigenous communities of Cañar. Judy and I continue our work together and I’m looking forward to returning in December 2017 for more work on the project.

July and August 2016 was a time I took advantage to be in Mexico City and reflect on the experiences I had during my Fulbright year and think about the directions I wanted to go in, both in my personal and professional life. I was fortunate to be named a member of the DocNow Advisory Board, and I attended our first meeting in August at Washington University in St. Louis. Reconnecting with dear colleagues in the US was a precious gift in that transitory moment of my life.

As September 2016 rolled around, I accepted a position as Digital Preservation Librarian at El Colegio de México. It was a dream come true: however, a gut-wrenching decision because in the end I gave up my fellowship and spot in the PhD program I had planned to begin that same month. I knew I needed to stay in Mexico City. The job was amazing, I was excited to work with my new colleagues, and most of all, be able to stay, long-term, in the city I have come to love.

October 2016-December 2016 were spent learning the ropes of my new job and new institution. In November, I was fortunate to be able to attend, for the first time, the Digital Library Forum and National Digital Stewardship Alliance meetings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I experienced the US Presidential elections in the United States with new and old colleagues, many of whom are some of my dearest friends. We grieved together, we sorted things out together. And my resolve to work and collaborate across borders solidified and swelled exponentially that week.

January 2017-April 2017 were months of a Spring of new projects, new collaborations, and new friendships. I began to explore Mexico City on foot in earnest and take up some new hobbies, including ambrotype photography. I submitted my first grant proposal to a Mexican funding agency. Big things have been put in motion and in the next few months I can’t wait to share these new projects, initiatives and collaborations with you all.