The University of Florida Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) has appointed library sciences and museum scholar, Porchia Moore, Ph.D as the center’s new associate director.
Moore joined UF College of the Arts in 2019 as an assistant professor in the School of Art + Art History and rotating program head of the Museum Studies department. She will retain her professorship while serving part time as CAME’s associate director.
“Dr. Moore is a superstar scholar and facilitator in cultural heritage and museum studies fields, and we are truly fortunate to have her step into this leadership role,” says CAME Director, Oṣubi Craig.
He adds, “Porchia brings innovative thinking, a track record of building powerful interdisciplinary research and partnerships, and a massive national and international network at the intersections of culture, community, emerging technology, and the creative economy. We look forward to Porchia cultivating our research agenda and expanding co-curricular activities and class offerings from the center.”
Moore succeeds Welson Tremura, Ph.D, Professor in the School of Music and the Center for Latin American Studies, who served as CAME’s inaugural associate director from 2021-2023.
Rethinking the role of cultural heritage instituitions in the 21st century
A self-proclaimed “museum geek,” Moore is an internationally recognized scholar-activist in what is known as the GLAMR (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Repositories) sector; a curator, author, and educator. She holds a doctorate degree in Library Information Sciences and a graduate certificate in Museum Management from the University of South Carolina and the McKissick Museum.
Moore is the co-founder of the Visitors of Color project, a co-director of the Incluseum, and an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Cultural Heritage Informatics Leadership Fellow. In 2022, she co-authored the American Alliance for Museums book, Transforming Inclusion in Museums: The Power of Collaborative Inquiry and is currently working on two new books anticipated to publish in 2024.
“In my research, I'm looking at the intersection of race, community, technology and informatics in cultural heritage … Specifically, I use museums as a vehicle to center BIPOC stories—queer BIPOC stories, especially—and really thinking what it means to reimagine museums and museum experiences,” Moore says.
Moore describes herself as a “bit of a strange bird” in that her dual scholarship in library sciences and museum studies occurred during a period of dramatic change in both fields—tectonic shifts that are still underway as professionals across the global GLAMR sector continuously debate and recalibrate their institutions’ roles in society.
“Historically, if you were in a library information science program, you were trained to be a school librarian or media library media specialist …. I’m in the new tradition of being trained up in an iSchool—someone interested in information technologies, which can run the gamut from cybertechnology to copyright issues,” Moore explains.
Referencing shifts specific to the museum field, Moore cites longtime Smithsonian Museum administrator, Stephen Weil, who, in his 2002 book of essays titled Making Museums Matter, asserted that museums must “earn their keep” by shifting away from being “primarily … defined by objects" and, instead, adopt a people-centered model that serves to enrich lives and well-being in their communities. Weil’s declaration, Moore notes, lit a spark that “changed the entire field overnight.”
“I am someone who deeply believes that museums are complicated and nuanced places. On the one hand, I think museums should be spaces where we can go for respite, and to immerse ourselves in beauty and culture. On the other hand, I think museums should be culturally responsive and serve as a vehicle for dialogue, literacy, and learning. Sometimes those things can work beautifully together, and other times they are in tension with each other. But I think that the goal of the 21st century museum is to help provide cultural heritage information for people so that they can increase their critical thinking,” Moore says.
“I've been hyper-focused on what IMLS calls ‘21st century literacies.’ What they're saying is: in order for museums and libraries to really excel, they have to help people excel. And the way that you excel in the 21st century is that you must acquire and master very specific skills.”
Moore applies what she describes as a “community-embedded scholarship” approach to bolstering literacy around information technologies, specifically in historically excluded communities. While attending the inaugural CAME Conference in 2020, Moore says she was fascinated by the conversations swirling around arts entrepreneurship, emerging technologies, and migrant communities.
“As someone who functions as a curator most of the time, I think that the arts and cultural heritage are always, in some way, connected to all three of these subjects around CAME,” Moore says.
When applications for the associate director position opened, Moore grasped the opportunity to expand the conversation: “Something I want us to think about, now, is: what are the 21st century literacies that an immigrant would need—that an artist would need; that an entrepreneur would need?”
Expanding shared information literacies across UF CAME, and community networks
One of Moore’s first projects as CAME’s associate director is organizing an off-campus film series that centers on migrant experiences. She seeks to partner in this project with organizations that facilitate Welcoming Week activities in the Gainesville-Alachua area.
“We want to identify safe spaces within [the] community where people feel comfortable; where we can show these films, have information available to varying communities, provide resources, and have dialogues,” Moore says.
By offering a mixture of documentary and narrative feature films—some with challenging content, and some that are more lighthearted—Moore says the goal is to “have rich, meaningful interactions” in community.
“We’re carefully selecting the films. We're thinking about our scope and our purpose and trying to clearly identify community members and the local organizations [to partner with]. I’m hyper-aware, because of the work that I do [in museums], that we don't want to re-traumatize people—but at the same time we do want to illuminate issues and offer resources, and help migrant communities feel less isolated, while also helping other [non-migrant] communities understand how they can learn from migrant stories,” Moore says.
In her role as associate director, Moore is also eager to flex her library sciences expertise.
“My vision is to strengthen CAME by continuing to build learning communities. We're hoping to launch a directory where affiliate faculty members can identify who they are and what their research is, and can begin to think about collaborations,” she says.
“I also think it’s important for us to have shared learning by sharing what we're reading. I imagine building something like a ‘working bibliography’—so that whether you're in CAME, COTA, or UF, or even if you’re part of the greater public, there’s a clearer path to understanding how these topics relate, and helping to illuminate other scholars who are tackling these varying issues.”
Moore emphasizes that she believes it will be critical for CAME to continue leading transparent and accessible dialogues that foster understanding around AI and emerging technologies’ impacts on everything ranging from arts entrepreneurship to algorithmic biases and the harms they potentiate against marginalized communities—and to work in community toward solutions.
“I personally think that CAME has a responsibility to be dialogic; to help provide answers and responses; to help promote those 21st century literacies. Because we're not just one discipline. We are multiple disciplines that show up across these three subjects. So, I think it's important for us to lead that conversation to the best of our ability and to be clear and transparent,” Moore says.
Finally, Moore says she looks forward to taking part in the upcoming search for CAME’s next permanent Maker in Residence. The center’s inaugural Maker in Residence, dancer-choreographer, Qudus Onikeku, concluded his approximately four-year residency this summer.
“One of the main things that drew me to apply for this position was my deep belief in the power of the Maker. I see the Maker in Residence position as the most unique, powerful, and special thing that CAME offers,” Moore says.
“I get especially excited about it because I come from the GLAMR sector, where, for the last ten years or so, libraries and some museums have beautifully created maker spaces—and their communities have literally flourished. Businesses have flourished because of those maker spaces. So, I think there’s a lot to be said for the power of creativity: how you can use creativity to make sense of your world, make sense of your life, and increase your learning.”
“I wanted to join CAME [leadership] in this moment of growth to help identify and advocate for a particular type of Maker. In the moment we're in, I believe that we need someone who has a vision for being in conversation with local government, state government, national government—someone who can help shepherd, if you will, community. Someone who can engage at all these different levels … and who, also, can stand in whatever is their craft and make a sonic boom—a sonic boom of truth that we should all be tapping into for our own growth. That’s how I see the Maker.”
To stay connected with the latest news and events at the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship, please subscribe to the UF CAME newsletter.