,The South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP) is a five-part initiative to collect, preserve, digitize, exhibit, and research home movies made by residents of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. The SSHMP seeks to increase understanding of the many histories and cultures comprising Chicago’s South Side, and of amateur filmmaking practices, by asking owners of home movies (shot on 8mm, Super8mm, 16mm film) to share their footage and describe it from their personal perspectives.
The project brings materials that are typically kept in private collections into public light and discussion. We aim to build an alternative, accessible visual record, filling gaps in existing written and visual histories, and ensuring that the diverse experiences and perspectives of South Siders will be available to larger audiences and to future generations.
Supported by the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life, Division of Humanities,, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture, Film Studies Center, Women’s Board, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and Office of Civic Engagement’s Community Program Accelerator, and Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture and Elizabeth Crown and Bill Wallace, the South Side Home Movie Project is both a film preservation project and a visual history of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods.
The South Side Home Movie Project was launched in 2005 by Professor Jacqueline Stewart (AM ’93, PhD ’99). Dr. Stewart’s research and teaching explore African American film cultures from the origins of the medium to the present, as well as the archiving and preservation of moving images, and “orphan” media histories, including nontheatrical, amateur, and activist film and video. Stewart is a Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies as well as Director of Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. She is the co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and curator of Cinema 53, a film series at the historic Harper Theater in Hyde Park.
Assistant Director of Community Engagement Programs Sabrina Craig has been a film programmer in Chicago for over 20 years, developing community-based screenings, innovative film programs, and opportunities to engage with media artists at multiple sites, including Black Cinema House, Women in the Director’s Chair Film Festival, University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, and colleges and community centers throughout the Midwest. As a board member of the Peace and Justice Radio Project, she developed a youth media literacy curriculum used in Chicago public high schools and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. She served two years as Chair of the LSC of her daughter’s public school. MA, Northwestern University, Radio/TV/Film; BA, Pomona College, Language and Society.
Project Manager and Archivist Justin D. Williams is a steward of culture and memory and a facilitator of multimedia projects that study personal and communal narratives in order to preserve and elevate their importance in our society. His broad background in arts and culture spans media technology, program management, documentary production, archiving, and community engagement. At the Logan Center for the Arts, he designed and led the Digital Storytelling Initiative and co-founded the Production Institute, a program that trains South Side filmmakers in the essential tools and skills needed to tell their stories. Justin has also worked for award-winning companies Kartemquin Films, StoryCorps, City Bureau, and partnered with dozens of organizations to design and produce digital storytelling projects. He holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from Brown University and is a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow.