Fortepan Iowa

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Designed as a collaborative student experience between the Communication Studies Department, the Department of History in 2014, and the Art Department at the University of Northern Iowa, Fortepan Iowa aims to digitize the amateur photographs of Iowans from a variety of backgrounds and document the stories contained in those photographs through oral history. The project gets its name from the popular film paper Fortepan made the Hungarian company Forte and is a sister site to the original Fortepan project developed by Miklós Tamási and András Szepessy in 2009. The website, a platform called Kronofoto developed by programmer Sergey Golitsinskiy and project architects Bettina Fabos, Noah Doely, and myself, virtually exhibits the high-quality images and stories in an interactive chronology and provides open-source access to educators and researchers interested in the past every-day experiences of Iowans. 

  • Office of the Vice President and Provost, Capacity Building Student Faculty Collaboration Grant ($3500) 1/15/2013-8/31/2014
  • Office of the Vice President and Provost, Capacity Building Project Grant ($16,074) 1/15/2014-5/31/2015
  • Humanities Iowa Major Grant (#36-1-004 $5000) 1/1/2014-12/31/2016  

Office of the President, University of Norther Iowa, Interdisciplinary Award for Research for Fortepan Iowa Digital Project, 2014


“Fortepan and Fortepan Iowa: Building a movement of democratic digital photo archives” with, Social Praxis and the Digital Archive, HASTAC, May 27-31, 2015, East Lansing, MI

Presenter with Noah Doely, Sergey Golitsynskiy, and Bettina Fabos, “Fortepan Iowa,” Board of Regents Meeting, September 9, 2015, Cedar Falls, IA


Media Education for a Digital Generation

The Fortepan Iowa project is featured in Media Education for a Digital Generation (New York: Routledge, 2015) by editors Julie Frechette and Rob Williams. Project directors Bettina Fabos, Sergey Golitsynskiy, and myself contributed the chapter “Digital Literacy, Public History, and FORTEPAN IOWA,” which explores the relationship between image and story and discusses how students, through their participation in the project by collecting photographs and stories from their families, developed the skills that constitute digital literacy.