Bebe Miller, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University, choreographer and dance company director, is a 2012 recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award honors an individual, institution or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archives.
According to the SAA, Miller has shown commitment to the archival preservation of dance though many avenues, such as advocacy within the dance community, organizing workshops on dance archives and documentation, and instituting an archives model to be used by artists.
Miller was nominated for the award by Nena Couch, curator of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute (TRI), and Lisa Carter, associate director for special collections and area studies at The Ohio State University Libraries. Said Couch, “Bebe is inspiring in so many ways – for her creativity, her inquiring mind, and her generosity in sharing her knowledge, both as a teacher, and through archives initiatives. She has assumed an important advocacy role within the field of dance, providing a bridge between archivists and dance creators to explore how best to meet the preservation needs of the field.”
Miller has collaborated with the Department of Dance in producing several digital documented works, a software template for choreographic documentation, and with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) to explore the use of motion capture technology for creative and archival purposes. Miller is one of three recipients of the award this year; the others are author and film sleuth Phillip Stewart and freelance writer and New York Times columnist Eve Kahn.
On the award, Miller said, “I am honored to be honored! Having been deeply involved in a two-year conversation with my collaborators about artists’ perspectives on archiving practices, it is very gratifying to know that those outside of our immediate circle understand and appreciate the impulse behind our work. That conversation has produced a new work (A History, premiering at the Wexner Center for the Arts this fall) as well as new questions about how to share the process of dance-making with new audiences.”
In addition to performances of A History September 27-30, Miller’s choreographic process is the subject of an exhibition, Tracing History, August 23-September 29 at Ohio State’s Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. Her work will also be celebrated in Dancing Dimensions: Movement through Time and Space, an exhibition at the OSU Libraries’ Thompson Library Gallery September 5 – December 30.