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Carol Leigh collaborating with the Center for Sex and Culture (San Francisco)

Award: $35,000 Media Arts grant awarded in 2006

Presented as a DVD and searchable database in 2008

Artist Carol Leigh collaborated with the Center for Sex and Culture, using a Pathfinder-based bibliography system to organize and present digital materials on “Art, Advocacy, and Identity,” documenting international sex workers, their cultures and communities. The finished piece is an innovative and accessible compilation of materials that enhances visitors’ use of the archives and library of the Center for Sex and Culture.

Carol Leigh worked closely with the Center’s director Carol Queen, librarian Sara Fox, and interns to select among and annotate the extensive raw video footage Leigh has collected at conferences, art exhibitions, and performances around the world.  The Pathfinder system enabled them to organize and curate the holdings to ease viewers’ research. Leigh’s skills as a web designer and video maker complemented the Center’s vision of accessibility and its expertise in resource compilation and indexing. Leigh and Queen’s collaboration also recognized the social sensitivity and privacy needed when documenting a marginalized population.

Carol Leigh (also known as Scarlot Harlot) is a San Francisco Bay Area based filmmaker, teacher, writer, arts festival director, performance artist, and political activist.  Since the late 1970s, she has produced, written, and performed political satire in a variety of genres.  She has been compiling video archives of sex worker arts and cultural events since the early 1980s.

The Center for Sex and Culture maintains a rare collection of publications, private archives, art and artifacts, documenting the nexus of sex and culture in an athenaeum environment.  One of its core programs is a publicly-accessible library and archives.  Its founding director, Carol Queen, Ph.D., is a widely-published and award-winning writer.