New Media

  • South Side Home Movie Project
    University of Chicago-South Side Home Movie Project

Opening of "Everyday Resistance: The Art of Living in Black Chicago," a South Side Home Movie Project exhibition in collaboration with University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life, 2018. Image courtesy of the South Side Home Movie Project.

Taking its cues from the architecture, signage, landmarks, and culture of Chicago’s South Side, the South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP) is building an innovative series of ports of entry to our digital archive, catalyzing dialogue, research, and creative projects about the built environment of Chicago’s South Side. By amplifying the interactivity of our online platform, we will aggregate community knowledge, inviting visitors from various backgrounds to contribute information in the form of comments, anecdotes, data, and additional digital exhibitions. Each of our films offers an intimate glimpse into history, situated within the context of personal relationships and public or private spaces. Capturing insights from community members will enrich the historical record, providing details about specific Chicago neighborhoods as well as midcentury urban life more broadly. By showcasing original artwork inspired by our collection, we will invite dialogue that connects the scenes depicted in home movies to our current cultural moment.

Jacqueline Stewart, SSHMP director, is professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago, host of Silent Sunday Nights on Turner Classic Movies, and chief artistic and programming officer at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. A native South Sider, Stewart's research and teaching explore Black cinema from the silent era to the present. Her publications include the books Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity and L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (coeditor), and articles in Critical Inquiry, Film Quarterly, Film History, and The Moving Image. She has held fellowships at Princeton’s Davis Center for Historical Studies, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is cocurator of the Kino-Lorber five-disc set Pioneers of African American Cinema, and serves as an appointee to the National Film Preservation Board. Stewart is former curator of Black Cinema House and currently directs the free screening series Cinema 53 at Harper Theater.

Justin D. Williams, SSHMP project manager and archivist, is a steward of culture and memory and a facilitator of multimedia projects that study personal and communal narratives in order to preserve and elevate their importance in our society. His broad background in arts and culture spans media technology, program management, documentary production, archiving, and community engagement. At the Logan Center for the Arts, he designed and led the Digital Storytelling Initiative and cofounded the Production Institute, a program that trains South Side filmmakers in the essential tools and skills needed to tell their stories. Williams has also worked for award-winning companies Kartemquin Films, StoryCorps, City Bureau, and partnered with dozens of organizations to design and produce digital storytelling projects. He holds a BA in Africana studies from Brown University and is a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

Sabrina Craig, SSHMP project manager, has been a film programmer in Chicago since 1996, developing community-based screenings including Black Cinema House at the Stony Island Arts Bank, Women in the Director’s Chair Film Festival, Cinema 53 at Harper Theater, and programming at colleges and community organizations throughout the midwest. At the Peace and Justice Radio Project, she developed a youth media literacy curriculum used in Chicago public high schools and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Craig coordinates the advisory committee, relays their guidance and feedback to the design team, and organizes the public launch activities, and related outreach/communications.

Project advisors:

Paola Aguirre is an architect, urban designer, and founder of Borderless (urban design/research practice in Chicago) who has worked with governments, universities, and architecture/urban design offices in Mexico and the US. She is the creator-producer of Mapeo Workshops, helping university students think creatively about urban challenges using mapping. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has contributed pieces about her urban research and experiences to Next City, Scapegoat Journal, MAS Context, and Arquine. She has been acknowledged by Impact Design Hub’s 40 Under 40 (2017), and Newcity Design 50: Who Shapes Chicago (2018).

Lee Bey is a former Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic whose writing and photography have appeared in a variety of outlets, including Bauwelt, Chicago Architect, The Guardian, the Chicago Reader, and Crain’s Chicago Business. His latest exhibition, Chicago: a Southern Exposure, was featured in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Bey is a senior lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a collaborator with the SSHMP on the March 2018 exhibition Calibrated Lens: A Focus on South Side Narratives.

Jeanette Foreman, niece of Jean Patton, one of the most prolific home movie makers included in the Archive, is an attorney, community activist, and lifelong resident of the Chatham and Hyde Park neighborhoods. She serves as a liaison between the SSHMP and the many community organizations in which she is involved. She also provides information and anecdotes about the over 100 films in the SSHMP’s Patton Family Collection.

Faheem Majeed is a builder—literally and metaphorically. A resident of South Shore, he often looks to the material makeup of his neighborhood and surrounding areas as an entry point into larger questions around civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional critique. Majeed served as executive director and curator for the South Side Community Art Center, and as the associate director of University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) School of Art and Art History. While at UIC he taught classes in museum collections and socially engaged art practices. Currently, Majeed is a full-time artist creating work in his South Shore studio.

Tracye A. Matthews is a historian, curator, and filmmaker working within and between the realms of academia, public history, museums, and documentary film. She produced the Academy Award shortlisted documentary ‘63 Boycott, with Kartemquin Films. Currently executive director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago, Matthews previously served as public historian at the Chicago History Museum and assistant professor in Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts–Boston. She cofounded the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project, an online platform and public programming collective.

Amanda Williams is a visual artist whose practice blurs the distinction between art and architecture. Her projects use color as a lens to highlight the complexities of the politics of race, place, and value in cities. She is best known for her series, Color(ed) Theory, in which she painted the exterior of soon-to-be-demolished houses on the South Side using a culturally charged color palette to mark the pervasiveness of vacancy and blight in black urban communities. Amanda is a recipient of the 2017 Pulitzer Arts Foundation Design/Build commission, a member of the Exhibition Design team for the Obama Presidential Center, and a popular lecturer on the subject of art and design in the public realm. She recently served as v isiting a ssistant professor at Washington University, St. Louis and as visiting professor at Cornell. She lives and works on Chicago’s South Side.

Launched in September 2005, the South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP) is a five-part initiative to collect, preserve, digitize, exhibit, and research home movies made by residents of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. The SSHMP seeks to increase understanding of the many histories and cultures comprising Chicago’s South Side, and of amateur filmmaking practices, by asking owners of home movies (shot on 8mm, Super8mm, and 16mm film) to share their footage and describe it from their personal perspectives. By cataloging these films and making them available through our Digital Archive, we are building an alternative, accessible visual record, filling gaps in existing written and visual histories and documenting the built environment, material culture, and domestic traditions of a distinctive Chicago community. Our goal is to ensure that the diverse experiences and perspectives of South Siders will be available to a wide public audience, to film scholars, and to future generations.