Visual AIDS is excited to announce our newest staff member, Kailee Faber. Kailee is a professional archivist, and she is working to organize and preserve our archival collections.

I am enjoying being a part of the dynamic and dedicated Visual AIDS team as their new Archivist! My background is in archival work stems from my academic research and personal connections to Black, queer, religious cultures, and their intersections. The gaps in historical records and historical writing made me shift the ways I saw my passions and my purposes, and have energized me into being someone who wants to care for this history. Archival work has been gratifying both in terms of learning more local, and identity-based history, as it’s been enriching to be able to help communities find more agency within the preservation of their histories. This reparative archival work has been deeply emotive and rewarding for me, connecting me with histories that speak to my embodied history.

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a certificate in archives and preservation from Rutgers University. Along with my educational training, I have experience working at a number of cultural institutions like the Institute of Jazz Studies, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Womanist Working Collective, The Free Library of Philadelphia, and independent artist studios.

At Visual AIDS, I’ve been lucky enough to support the work towards our goals as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Community-based Archives Grant. To do so, I’ve been working to strengthen archival management at Visual AIDS. This includes processing the collections but it also includes reimagining archival publishing and user interfaces for the archive and website, as well as adding to the archive through new oral history interviews. So far, I have focused a lot of my time doing the initial surveying and processing of the collection, which has included rehousing the collections from the filing cabinets to new archival boxes and shelves!

It’s been so rich and impactful working with Visual AIDS’s collection, and it’s been a remarkable conduit to new relationships with archive members and donors as we work together to strengthen the care of our collections. Already, I’ve engaged with several members of the Visual AIDS community at the Women’s Empowerment Art Therapy Workshops. I’m excited to continue engaging with more of them both to build community, cross-generational connections, and strengthen the archive with all the intangible knowledge and stories that are a part of Visual AIDS.

Going forward, I hope to bring about long-lasting, effective, and care-centered decisions to the archive. As a Black queer person, the collection touches on many of my own identities. The histories that I am caring for are indeed personal to me both as an archivist and as a person. Working with artists’ papers, the materials of our living artist members, and our growing collection is a profound experience. I am looking forward to continuing working with the Visual AIDS Artist Registry and Archive, growing with the Visual AIDS staff, meeting more artist members, and collaborating and sharing our work with the community!

- Kailee Faber, Archivist