Maigen Sullivan awarded the 2020 Society of American Archivists Innovator Award for Invisible Histories Project

UAB graduate student Maigen Sullivan has been recognized for her leadership, creativity and community-outreach impact.

Maigen2Maigen Sullivan A University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education graduate student and adjunct faculty in women’s studies, Maigen Sullivan has received the 2020 Society of American Archivists Innovator Award for her work as co-founder of the Invisible Histories Project.

The Invisible Histories Project works to locate, preserve and make accessible the LGBTQ history of the Deep South.

“What IHP is really trying to do is challenge narratives of lacking and left-behind South,” Sullivan said. “While we have our issues, the South is and has always been full of phenomenal folks doing historically significant and communally important organizing and advocacy work.”

The project began collecting queer archival materials in February 2018, and to date has located more than 50 collections of LGBTQ historical documents from Alabama, dating from 1912 to the present. It pioneers cooperative collecting, breaks down long-established walls of distrust, and builds lasting partnerships between LGBTQ memory-creators, academic institutions, budding archivists and researchers.

In the last two years, IHP has developed Queer History South, a network and conference that brings together archivists, historians, oral historians and community organizers to focus on the work of LGBTQ archival preservation. It creates a network of support and innovation for the field of queer Southern studies.

Sullivan says she is excited about her doctoral program, Educational Studies of Diverse Populations.

“This program allows me to conduct research related to the work IHP does across the United States’ South,” Sullivan said. “My dissertation will focus on how Southern universities can better engage with LGBTQ communities through history and archiving projects.”

So much of my experience at UAB has prepared me for this new role of developing and expanding IHP.”

Sullivan says she is grateful for all the support she has received from faculty in the program, including Tondra Loder-Jackson, Ph.D., and Andrew McKnight, Ph.D. She also expressed her excitement to work with the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Political Science and Public Administration.

“I am thrilled to share my passion for learning about and teaching social justice issues that is supported by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and by folks like Lisa Sharlach, Ph.D., and Robert Blanton, Ph.D.,” she said. “So much of my experience at UAB has prepared me for this new role of developing and expanding IHP.”

The Archival Innovator Award recognizes archivists, repositories or organizations that show creativity in approaching professional challenges, the ability to think outside the professional norm, or have an extraordinary impact on a community through archives programs and outreach.

SAA’s Archival Innovator Award was established in 2012.