Stephanie Sapienza


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This is Professional Stephanie.

Currently, I’m the Digital Humanities Archivist at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at University of Maryland. My work focuses on archives, digital storytelling, digital curation, research data, and digital stewardship.

My research interests involve utilizing digital humanities methods, creative scholarship, and archival standards to reimagine and reinvigorate the value and discoverability of media collections. This work spans a breadth of activities, from using linked data to recontextualize media collections through a networked lens, to increasing public consciousness of the existence and value of post-custodial community archives and endangered or ‘orphaned’ media collections, to the creative reuse of archival media through digital storytelling and multimodal scholarship. I’m an affiliate faculty member of UMD’s Cinema and Media Studies (CMS) department, where I teach a course on digital storytelling using archives. I’m also incubating a burgeoning interest in the education, documentation, and knowledge transfer surrounding obsolete audiovisual media and playback equipment.

In the past, I managed the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, overseeing metadata and digitization initiatives involving 120 public broadcasting stations, over 2 million inventory records, and the digitization of 40,000 hours of content.

Before moving to DC in 2010, I directed a Getty-funded initiative for Los Angeles Filmforum entitled Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in LA 1945 -1980, a historical survey and preservation project resulting in over 35 new oral histories, an academic symposium, a media-rich web resource, and exhibition series. The project was part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative showcasing postwar art in Los Angeles. I also served as Managing Director of iotaCenter, a small nonprofit film archive of experimental film and abstract animation.

I earned my graduate degree in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA, where my work focused on access to and reuse of historical media collections with a focus on broadcasting, experimental film and animation history. Before graduate school, I worked for six years as a researcher and producer on documentaries and television shows, specializing in finding and licensing archival footage and photos for use in productions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies from the University of Kansas, and I’m also the current Vice President of the KU Film and Media Studies Professional Advisory Board. Rock chalk.

This is Stephanie the Person.

I spent ten years of my early childhood on Long Island, twelve years of my middle childhood and college years in Kansas City and Lawrence, ten years of my formative adult years in Los Angeles, and have spent the remainder of my adulthood since 2011 in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) region. Although each of these was its own kind of cultural bubble, I believe in bursting bubbles and having a dialogue with those outside of my bubble.

I grew up obsessively reading books and then began obsessively watching films. Sometimes bands or recording artists allow me to sing in front of people, or even on albums. I make furniture and craft art out of upcycled materials, and I occasionally perform live storytelling. I am a culinary and wine enthusiast. I know how pretentious that sounds. These are my two dogs, who (unlike me) are natural redheads.

Abbott and Penny