Founded at New York University’s Urban Democracy Lab and hosted by the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York between fall 2017 and spring 2018, the Urban Listeners is composed of oral historians, community organizers, archivists, artists, teachers, and scholars who are dedicated to knowledge-keeping and knowledge-making that acknowledges the profound impact power relations, colonial legacies, identity, and politics have on what we hear about both the past and present. The group values advocacy and activism, and remains thoughtfully critical of the boundaries between scholarship and practice. I stewarded the group at its founding; Dr. Prithi Kanakamedala at Bronx Community College carried it forward at The Graduate Center (under the name City Amplified); and I am currently co-stewarding it again with sociologist Michelle Esther O’Brien.
This year (2019-2020), we are excited to partner with Metropolitan New York Library Council (a.k.a. METRO 599) and AVP to test a new audio-visual collection tool called Aviary. Since several of us are working with tiny budgets and on modest projects, we decided to collectively share resources and an Aviary account to build our own individual collections. Ten of us will be practicing with the tool, offering feedback to AVP, and then, if all goes well, making our collections available to wider audiences. I’m grateful to be working with such creative, generous partners on this project.