Marisa Hicks Presentation

Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz, postdoctoral research associate in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois and board member of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, will present.

Abstract: Over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, archival science has grappled with changing notions of custody. The post-custodial model, which emerged in the 1980s amid new technological advancements, critical theoretical insights, and social justice concerns, sought to challenge traditional custodial norms for their role in supporting dominant narratives. However, recent critical analyses suggest that despite attempts to move beyond these custodial frameworks, they still significantly inform existing post-custodial models.

My presentation examines the convergence of custody, ownership, and digital technology in post-custodial practices, highlighting a shift from physical to digital ownership of community materials. I argue that this shift risks reinforcing and even deepening colonial dynamics. I advocate for a relational ethics approach that prioritizes transparency, informed consent, and equitable resource sharing. Grounded in anticolonial and Chicanx/Latinx feminist principles, this framework marks a significant departure from custodial dynamics to foster relationships based on trust, connection, and collective wellbeing.

Drawing from my experiences working with the ImaginX en Movimiento (IXeM) Memory Collective, I share how we cultivate spaces where community members actively contribute to and benefit from digitally preserving their narratives, as well as actionable strategies for cultivating genuine and equitable archival relations.

Bio: Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz (she/they) is a postdoctoral research associate in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and board member of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. As a cofounder of the IXeM Collective, they develop anticolonial research methods with artists, archivists, and cultural organizations to enhance digital preservation access for at-risk audiovisual media. Their collaborations span organizations like the New American Welcome Center at the University YMCA; Urbana Makerspace; Garífuna Museum of Los Angeles; and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

Hicks-Alcaraz’s writing has appeared in journals including the International Journal of Information, Diversity & Inclusion, Journal of Feminist Media Histories, and Interdisciplinary Digital Engagement in Arts & Humanities. She is the former director of programming for the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles and Student Film Festival, and has curated film programs for MoMA, New York; MIX NYC; Markaz Middle East Arts Center; and Vincent Price Art Museum. She has also received various awards, including the Marian and Charles Holmes Performing Arts Fund Grant; CSU Pomona, Outstanding Faculty Award; and Latinx Literary Heritage Recovery Fellowship.

Hicks-Alcaraz obtained a PhD in cultural studies from Claremont Graduate University, while serving as a Fellow of the Digital Studio Center at the Claremont Colleges. They hold an MA in cinema studies from New York University and a BA in Middle Eastern studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.