In the early 1990s, Alexandra Juhasz researched feminist media history. She held five meetings around the United States that included more than one hundred diverse media feminists. The meetings were documented (on VHS!) and later transcribed and logged. The tapes record how she was generously given an outsize list of names, films, influences, and themes, and a mind-expanding list of possible strategies for feminist media history making. The research led to a book and a documentary, and the tapes were stored in a box in an archive. One, from New York in 1994, is now here, digitized, at the above URL.
Years later, Juhasz was working on another related collaborative project, a working group at the CUNY Graduate Center sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, VHS Archives (https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/public-engagement/working-groups/vhs-archives), where activists, scholars, archivists, and others have been thinking about how to preserve, share, teach from, and activate analog archives. The lightweight tool that sits on top of this VHS recording is one of the exciting results of their work. This open-source tool, developed with the group by Partner and Partners, is a manifestation of ideas (still in development) about how to work carefully with the video of small, dedicated, often vulnerable political communities. Juhasz put her tape into the tool and annotated it (with others) as an offering to the introduction. It is not just footage useful for further research, but also an example of feminist methods in new formats, where the ambivalence, love, need, and sometimes boringness of intergenerational transfer—a subject within the research meeting itself—could be marked and then opened up for further participation by others.