Project Team

Jamie A. Lee
Project Director

Jamie A. Lee is Associate Professor in the School of Information at the University of Arizona, USA, where their research and teaching attend to critical archival theory and methodologies, multimodal media-making contexts, storytelling, and bodies. Lee founded and directs the Arizona Queer Archives, a de-centralized community archives. Lee’s book, Producing the Archival Body, (Routledge, 2021) interrogates how power circulates and is deployed in archival contexts in order to build critical understandings of how deeply archives influence and shape the production of knowledges and human subjectivities. Lee is an IMLS Early Career Grantee and an Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice Faculty Fellow. For more on Lee’s research, visit The Storytelling Lab.

Adela C. Licona
aguamiel: secrets of the agave, filmmaker, consultant

Adela C. Licona is the founder and lead consultant at The Art of Change Agency, a coaching and consulting agency supporting critical voices and creative visions for sustainable practice, structural change, and social transformation. She is Editor Emeritus of Feminist Formations and serves on the advisory boards for Feminist Formations, the Primavera Foundation, Art+Feminism, and BorderLinks. She is Associate Professor Emeritus, Rhetoric, UA, where she served as founding member and Vice Chair of the Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory graduate minor and was affiliated faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies, Institute for LGBT Studies, Institute of the Environment, and Mexican American Studies.

Miguel Mario Licona
aguamiel: secrets of the agave, filmmaker

Miguel Mario Licona is an artist-scholar living in Northern New Mexico. He works with earthly materials that cause people to reflect on and reconsider their childhood experiences with wood, stone, and steel. Growing up in the borderlands, his lived experiences informed his sense of place and identity. He taught environmental science, biology and other high school sciences for twenty-five years and realized how much indigenous knowledge his migrant students brought to the classroom which was often disregarded by most teachers. Miguel worked to develop an anti-deficit understanding of education along the border while obtaining a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. From there, he taught at borderland universities and extended his ideas into socially just pedagogies. While he was president of the Women’s Intercultural Center, he helped develop the aquamiel: secrets of the agave research and documentary that took U.S.  teachers and other scholars on immersive excursions and along both sides of the border. Placing U.S.teachers and professors in homes of migrant families in the desert homes in the U.S and Mexico, a new understanding of student/family values were clarified and used to inform pedagogies in teacher preparation courses and research. His own lived experience of migrating from one country to another, of the education system and of academia, as well as of encountering new hegemonic language and cultures during his 41 years of borderlands education and these continue to inform his functional art made from the wood, stone and steel of the borderlands.

Research Team / Multimedia & Archives

aems emswiler

aems is an anarchist, archivist, and organizer from rural Texas, and PhD student at the University of Arizona, School of Information. They are founder and coordinator of the Inside Books Project Archive (IBPA), documenting incarcerated people’s narratives and prison censorship in Texas since 2015. They are in collaboration with the Texas After Violence Project, Arizona Queer Archives, Permanent Legacy Foundation, Blacklidge Community Collective, and University of Arizona Libraries Digital Borderlands projects. In conjunction with community-based doctoral research, they publish on anarchism, power, and pedagogy in archives.

Bryan Armstrong

Bryan Armstrong is a MLIS grad student at the University of Arizona, where he is a scholar in the Knowledge River program, a program specializing in educating MLIS students dedicated to the needs of BIPOC communities. A native of Florida, Bryan gained a passion for information science field while serving in the US Peace Corps as an Education Volunteer in Cambodia, with a focus on rural library development. When not working on the secrets of the agave project, Bryan is a Library Associate with Pima County Public Library.

Ren Manning

Ren Manning is an organizer, educator, and artist. They are a Co-Director/ Director of Education at BorderLinks; a Tucson-based non-profit which offers popular education experiences for migrant justice and social action. Ren co-founded the Freedom Education Fund, a full ride scholarship for undocumented students at Prescott College; Keep Prescott Together, a Northern AZ deportation defense network; and Preskitt Drag Caberet Troupe, a performance space dedicated to queer joy in rural Arizona. They serve on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona Network. Their degrees are in Social Movement Studies (BA) and Social Justice and Human Rights (MA) from Prescott College. Their inspiration comes from experiences with international struggles for liberation in Tucson, NYC, Guatemala, México, and Maasailand, Kenya.

Tania Garcia

Julie Ray Creative

Julie Ray Creative (JRC) was founded in Tucson in 2008 with the vision of bringing together social justice and design. Our values of community impact, collaboration & inclusion, creativity, and connection are the foundation for our process and practice.

Educational Module Team

Ann Shivers-McNair
Design Justice, University of Arizona

Ann Shivers-McNair (she/her) is an associate professor and director of professional and technical writing in the English Department and affiliated faculty in the School of Information at the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching focus on equity-centered and justice-focused approaches to co-design.

Adela C. Licona
The Art of Change Agency

Ren Manning

Grace Gamez
ReFraming Justice

Dr. Grace Gámez founded Reframing Justice, an advocacy program in Arizona for people impacted by mass criminalization and incarceration. Through leadership workshops, multimedia storytelling, coalition building, and community participatory research- Dr. Gámez worked to position directly impacted people to lead anti-criminalization movement work in Arizona. ReFraming Justice focused on shifting the public imagination away from models rooted in punishment towards ones that embrace radical community-making and healing. Dr. Gámez’s recently released research, The Barrio Centro Community Safety Participatory Research Project, informed the City of Tucson’s research on safety and investments that would improve community wellbeing.

Grace is a mother, partner, embodied leader, mobilizer, researcher, storyteller and freedom dreamer. She values wholeheartedness, complexity, accountability over punishment and brave visioning.

She is a 2021 Windcall Resident, member of RTI’s APPR Advisory Board, and 2018 Lead with Conviction fellow with JustLeadershipUSA. Grace holds a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University, and a Master of Science degree in Mexican American Studies & Public Health from the University of Arizona.

Karen Caldwell
Primavera Foundation

Karen Caldwell is the Director of Workforce Development for the Primavera Foundation in Tucson, Arizona. She oversees Primavera Works, a social enterprise which offers homeless and low-income workers an alternative to day labor halls. Primavera Works provides temporary employment and permanent job search assistance. She was born and raised in Tucson, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS degree in Sociology. She has worked at the Primavera Foundation for 24 years.

Community Partners