Graduate To Curate Academy Film Series, Archive Hip-Hop Media At Harvard

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Martha Diaz, a 2016 graduate of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program in the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, is the recipient of a Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship for fall 2017. The fellowship is jointly awarded by the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. During the fellowship period, Diaz plans to pilot an "Illmatic Education" curriculum that was created in association with the feature documentary Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014). She will also archive cultural artifacts related to the film's tour as well as additional footage that did not make it into the documentary. 

In addition, Diaz has been invited to curate "Made You Look: Four Decades of Hip-Hop's Impact in Cinema," the first hip-hop and cinema series produced by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The series will run at the SVA Theater in New York City (333 W. 23rd Street) on Tuesdays, June 6 - 27, 2017, as part of a larger Spotlight on Crafts: Music and Sound series. Diaz received the invitation to curate from 2014 Cinema Studies MA graduate Roger Mancusi, now Coordinator of New York Programs and Membership for AMPAS. Her curated programming will showcase works from the 1980s to the present. Diaz has selected one film per decade and will contextualize each with an introduction and a moderated discussion following the screening.

Diaz presenting her capstone portfolio, "Nuff Respect! Documenting, Archiving, and Curating Hip-Hop Culture" (Mar 30, 2016). Photo courtesy of Kathy Short.

Diaz's longstanding dedication to hip-hop culture--as an aficionado, producer, curator, activist, archivist, and educator--was an organizing principle during her time as a MIAP student. Following internships at New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Paley Center for Media, and Parkwood Entertainment, Diaz synthesized her journey from documenting to preserving hip-hop culture in her MIAP capstone portfolio last spring. That presentation highlighted projects to acquire, curate, archive, and preserve hip-hop media produced for television (Video Music BoxHip MundoGraffiti TV), cultural programming (Hip-Hop Odyssey International Film Festival), and documentary film (Nas: Time Is Illmatic).

We congratulate Martha for continuing her trailblazing work to honor and save hip-hop's audiovisual cultural heritage!

Prof. Juana Suárez (MIAP '13 & incoming MIAP Director) and Martha Diaz (MIAP '16) during a 2016 Audiovisual Preservation Exchange in Santiago, Chile. Photo courtesy of APEX 2016 Santiago (