In this special episode, Material Memory is partnering with the UK-based DCDC conference to bring you three stories about the theme “crisis as a catalyst for change.” First, host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo interviews Angela Whitecross, who was capturing oral history testimonies of the UK National Health Service when COVID-19 broke out and found herself documenting the history she herself was living. In the second interview, Teresa Cisneros discusses her efforts to embed a practice of anti-racism and anti-ableism at the Wellcome Collection and her hopes of turning the logic of colonial administration against itself. Finally, Ferraiolo speaks with Henry Roberts, the youth activist who’s developing a climate action plan for the National Library of Scotland (and its 250 employees) as Scotland gears up to host COP26, the UN’s climate summit. The episode closes with a brief conversation with Matt Greenhall, one of the conference organizers, who reflects on common threads throughout these stories and how cultural organizations can turn moments of crisis into catalysts for change.

DCDC21: Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities, hosted by The National Archives (UK), RLUK, and Jisc, will take place virtually June 28–July 2. Registration is open through 14:00 GMT on Friday, June 25.

Link to transcript

Sources and References, in order of appearance

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) Conference 2021

Angela Whitecross segment: 

Teresa Cisneros segment: 

  • Wellcome Collection: 
  • Person centered design for inclusive practice 
  • document 0** :, a series of observations, a commentary, partly fictional written through encounters and my complicity in the arts exploring our inability to “diversify” the arts. 
  • Decolonizing the Museum, the Curriculum, and the Mind “Decolonizing: The Curriculum, the Museum, and the Mind” aims to identify where we are and where we might be going vis-à-vis the idea of decolonizing – better, the process of decolonization – in higher education, museums and galleries, and the ongoing legacies of colonization that shape structures and infrastructures, policies and protocols, mentalities and behaviours, and minds and bodies. Co-authors: Danah Abdulla, Teresa Cisneros, Andrea Francke, Lolita Jablonskiene, Ieva Mazuraite-Novickiene, Achille Mbembe, Almira Ousmanova, Ieva Pleikiene, Marquard Smith, and Michelle Williams Gamaker

Henry Roberts segment: 

Note: Sources marked by ** are writings by the episode’s guests.

Behind the Mic

Nicole Ferraiolo

Nicole Kang Ferraiolo

Show Host

Nicole Kang Ferraiolo is CLIR’s director of global strategic initiatives. She was previously a program officer for CLIR’s regranting and fellowship programs. Prior to that, Nicole worked at Columbia University where she oversaw several projects including an interdisciplinary research program on global governance that focused in turn on nuclear proliferation, pandemics, religious conflict, and climate change. 

Teresa Cisneros

Teresa Cisneros


Teresa Cisneros is a Chicanx curandera, curator, and administrator who has worked with the sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective and other constituted art and higher education groups. She is inclusive practice lead at the Wellcome Collection. In 2018, she wrote document 0, a publication exploring our inability to “diversify” the arts. She is interested in reconstructing systems and cultural institutions to begin working toward forms of transformational and institutional justice by holding staff accountable for their bad behaviors.

Matt Greenhall


Matt Greenhall is deputy executive director at RLUK–Research Libraries UK. He has an interest in encouraging cross-sector collaboration between the information, cultural, and academic communities, and facilitating partnership development. He has a particular interest in supporting communities of practice to come together to explore some of the common challenges facing the research library community. 


Henry Roberts


Henry Roberts is a climate activist from Lancashire, England. Currently, he splits his time between two jobs, one with the National Library of Scotland as their climate crisis intern and one with an international development organization as their communications assistant. In his spare time, Henry campaigns with the UK Youth Climate Coalition and writes for the sustainable theatre company the Greenhouse.”

Angela Whitecross

Angela Whitecross


Dr. Angela Whitecross has been the project manager for NHS at 70 since 2011 and is co-investigator on the UKRI/ AHRC funded NHS Voices of Covid-19 project, based at the University of Manchester. Angela has a background in British political history and has worked in a range of heritage and academic settings. Her research interests focus on co-production and engagement, particularly the intersections between academic, business, community and heritage organizations.

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