CSUDH Archivist Selected as Cultural Heritage Fellow
Amalia Medina Castañeda, university archivist at the CSUDH Gerth Archives and Special Collections, has been selected as one of 15 Rare Book School-Mellon Cultural Heritage Fellows for 2022-2024. The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage is a six-year program that aims to advance multicultural collections through innovative and inclusive curatorial practice and leadership.
Castañeda is passionate about the recruitment and retention of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in special collections librarianship, and was drawn to the fellowship’s inclusive mission.
“Unfortunately, the cultural heritage, museum, and archives field is not racially and culturally diverse—fewer than 10 percent of curators, archivists, or special collections librarians are BIPOC,” Castañeda said. “This fellowship will afford me access to an intellectual community of BIPOC archival scholars whose interests lie at the intersection of librarianship, community, and archives.”
In addition to her role at CSUDH, Castañeda also serves as board chair at the Museum of Social Justice, an institution that chronicles the history of Los Angeles’s marginalized communities through exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives. She says that ultimately, her archival and public history work is rooted in people and ensuring communities of color see themselves in the cultural record.
“Serving a grassroots museum like the Museum of Social Justice and at one of the California State University campuses with the highest percentage of Black and Latinx students has shaped my understanding of how archivists and cultural heritage practitioners can reach the people they intend to serve,” Castañeda said.
“As a Cultural Heritage fellow, I look forward to working with colleagues to lead both large and small-scale events that are authentically community-centered.”