Penn Libraries’ new curator for Civic Engagement

Samantha Hill is the newest addition to the curatorial team in the Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts.

Penn Libraries has brought on Samantha Hill as curator for Civic Engagement. An award-winning transdisciplinary artist whose practice draws upon archives and oral histories collected by individuals and communities, Hill is the founder and Primary Investigator for the Kinship Project, a special collection which contains 4,000 candid and professional family pictures (photographs, scrapbooks, tintypes & digital images), mostly of African Americans, from across the country. By simultaneously playing the role of artist, archivist, and anthropologist, she engages communities in the development of multimedia installations and performances grounded in individual and community memory.

Samantha Hill standing in a library.
Samantha Hill, curator for Civic Engagement. (Image: Penn Libraries News)

“The Penn Libraries has made it a strategic priority to intentionally strengthen outreach and engagement that positively impact local communities,” says Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “Samantha’s expertise across disciplines and deep experience in partnership-building will be invaluable to our work on campus and throughout Philadelphia.”

As part of the curatorial team in the Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Hill will bring the Center’s expertise in preserving and providing access to cultural heritage to communities in and around the city of Philadelphia. While the Penn Libraries is an active collecting institution, Hill expects to work in a post-custodial model, where the artifacts of memory are not extracted from the communities that create and nurture them, but rather Penn’s experience in processing, preserving, digitizing, and providing access to such material might help advance the goals of those communities while promoting research and teaching.

Read more at Penn Libraries News.