Cynthia is an artist, activist-scholar and oral historian who is passionate about creating interactive, participatory stories documenting social change. Using video to restore voices of collectivity, she casts a critical lens on political and societal norms surrounding identity, space, and community. Cynthia is a highly skilled and engaged producer, adept in oral history project design, digital project planning and management. Her interests include: producing compelling public history digital projects; merging socially-engaged art practices with participatory action research; community-based archiving and storytelling; and documenting social movements and student activism. Cynthia is an accomplished facilitator who brings together scholars, technologists, and artists to engage as a team in the planning and designing of open source, public history teaching and learning tool prototypes.
Cynthia has shared her extensive knowledge as an archivist, librarian, educator and oral historian at esteemed cultural heritage and higher education institutions such as the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) at Hunter College, the New York Public Library, Museum of the City of New York, Brooklyn Historical Society, Vera Institute of Justice and Pratt Institute. Currently, she is the Head of Archives at Bronx Community College (BCC), where she established the College’s first Archive. She is charged with documenting the vibrant history of the college and the mission it serves: to expand opportunities in higher education for the diverse Bronx community. As the college archivist, she is actively collecting oral history interviews, documents, and images from the community, as well as promoting the use of this content to the public through the creation of digital humanities initiatives and collaborations with local community organizations.
Cynthia is the founder of the WRI Oral History Project, which is documenting the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College that fights for equal access to higher education for welfare recipients. Working on this project set her on her path, which combines interests in storytelling, oral history and documenting activism, while also addressing trends in open access and media technologies.
Cynthia’s current research interests are centered on using oral history methodology to understand issues of equity, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism in higher education. She has presented and published on several community-based oral history projects that have focused on gentrification, housing justice and student activism. Her multimedia & storytelling work has been exhibited at artist collectives such as Silent Barn and Flux Factory. Cynthia received her Master’s degree in Politics from the New School and her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a certificate in Archival Management, from Pratt Institute.
For more on Cynthia’s varied professional pursuits and interests, feel free to connect via LinkedIn.
A first generation Ecuadorian American, Cynthia was born in Jackson Heights, Queens and raised in several neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn. She lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Other current obsessions include running, traveling, and cooking at home with her son for family and friends.