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); in 2019-2020, I resumed co-facilitating with sociologist Michelle Esther O’Brien. During that time we partnered with Metropolitan New York Library Council (a.k.a. METRO 599) and AVP to test a new audio-visual collection tool called Aviary.
Since 2020, the group has continued to meet intermittently under the facilitation of Ellen Noonan, Director of the Archives and Public History Program at NYU, and Annie Valk, Executive Director of the American Social History Project at The Graduate Center/CUNY.