No Boundaries Archive Project: Preserving the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

Although the application date for this project is past, the project is still ongoing. You may still wish to contact this professor about other ways of getting involved with this work. Please attend an info session or contact email for more information.

In the midst of a final push to publish the prototype digital archive for the No Boundaries collection by December 2023, we are looking for student researchers to help us complete the cataloging and organization of both digital and physical objects. 

Over 15 years in the making, No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers existed as an evolving repertoire of solos choreographed by some of the nation’s leading contemporary African-American choreographers. The performance project featured works by Kyle Abraham, Robert Battle, Rennie Harris, Dianne McIntyre, Bebe Miller, Donald McKayle, Reggie Wilson, Andrea E. Woods Valdéz, David Roussève, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The next evolution of No Boundaries is as a digital humanities archive to further the reach, distribution, and preservation of this project. Each of the choreographed “texts” provide an entry point to understanding the artistic, historic, and social forces impacting the selected artists as well as their influence on the wider dance field and the greater American socio-political landscape. Recently featured on NPR, Google Arts and Culture, and in Dance Magazine, the online platform allows the user to navigate the material through a multiplicity of paths and multiple modes of interaction (text, audio, and visuals) translating live dance performance for preservation, enabling an interactive experience, and highlighting the interconnected themes at play. In spite of a history of silencing and erasure of Black cultural contributions, No Boundaries seeks to ensure that African-American voices continue to resonate in the archives of contemporary dance for generations to come.


In the midst of a final push to publish the prototype digital archive for the No Boundaries collection by Dec 2023, we are looking for a student researcher to help us complete the cataloging and organization of both digital and physical objects in Gesel Mason’s possession. By adding these objects to the collection, we will create a more comprehensive representation of asset types for inclusion in the prototype. 

Objects in the collection include programs, choreographic notes, costumes, and some born digital items. The research assistant would digitize, catalog, and organize these objects to 1) be gifted to the Harry Ransom Center for preservation and 2) be added to the digital archive in process. The research assistant would liaise with Mason and the Ransom Center in the transferring and processing of the objects, and work with the project directors (Mason and Rebecca Salzer) to add the digitized records to the prototype digital archive. 

Beginning Fall 23 - Spring 2024, we are also seeking student researchers to create AVAnnotate projects as part of Mason's fellowship with UT's new Institute for Digital Humanities Projects led by Professor Tanya Clement. The AVAnnotate Project seeks funding to develop open-source software that leverages the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standard for AV materials.

AVAnnotate is the second phase of the AudiAnnotate project, supported by a Mellon Foundation grant awarded in 2020. The AudiAnnotate project included the development of the free and open-source AudiAnnotate web application to easily produce freely available web projects. These projects—which resemble AV-centered “editions” or “exhibits”—are a series of web pages, hosted on GitHub, that feature a linked LAM audio or video recording that can be played in the context of user-generated commentary in time-stamped annotations alongside introductory material and an index of concepts and terms, all of which provide for searching, browsing, and organizing annotations across recordings. The AudiAnnotate team has also produced guidelines, workshops, and proof-of-concept projects with LAM partners to serve as much-needed examples for working with AV artifacts. AVAnnotate builds on the work of AudiAnnotate by developing the application to generate projects with a more interactive and full-featured environment for editing and annotating, with better support for video, and with more reusable software components.

Typical Time Commitment
5 hours a week
Desired Length of Commitment
semester long


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