Season 2

Climate Change & Cultural Memory

About Season 2

Season two of Material Memory explores the impact of the climate crisis on communities and their cultural heritage.

How does climate change threaten our records and traditions? What is the relationship between memory and disaster? How will the unequal effects of the climate crisis alter the historical record? What are the preservation needs of communities at risk of displacement? And what role does heritage play in identity and resilience?

The season will take a critical look at the role of information and cultural heritage professionals in responding to the crisis, and consider how different approaches to preservation can help or harm affected communities.

Join us as host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo speaks with guests about what’s at stake at the intersection of climate and memory and where to go from here.

climate protesters

Our Guests


Itza Carbajal

Doctoral Student, University of Washington

Itza Carbajal is a doctoral student at the University of Washington, who was until recently the Latin American Metadata Librarian for LLILAS Benson at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work explores the intersections of records, memory, power, and culture.

Saiful Chowdhury

Saiful Alam Chowdhury

assistant professor, university of Dhaka

Saiful Alam Chowdhury is assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Prior to joining the faculty, Saiful spent 11 years as a journalist, and twice won first prize as Best Investigative Reporter for his work on Islamic militancy and crime.

Crystal Felima

Crystal Felima

Emergency manager, fEMA

Crystal Felima, emergency manager at FEMA, holds a PhD in Anthropology and an MA in Africana Studies. She specializes in disaster narrative research and vulnerability in the Caribbean and has worked extensively in Haiti and Puerto Rico. The views expressed in the interviews are hers and do not necessarily represent those of FEMA.

Victoria Herrmann

Victoria Herrmann

President and Managing director, The Arctic Institute

Victorial Herrmann is president and managing director of The Arctic Institute. Her research and writing focus on climate change, community adaptation, resilient development, and migration. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in climate policy worldwide in 2019 by Apolitical.

Ben Goldman

Ben Goldman

Archivist, Penn State University

Ben Goldman is archivist for curatorial services and strategy in the Special Collections Library at Penn State University. His research explores the intersection of archives, climate change, and the environment. He is the PI for the Repo Data Project, a project to identify, gather, standardize, and make publicly accessible United States archival repository location data.

Blessing Nonye Onyima

Blessing Nonye Onyima

senior lecturer, Nnamdi Azikiwe University

Blessing Nonye Onyima is a cultural/medical anthropologist with a focus on gender, culture and conflict studies, environment, and health of marginal populations. She currently works as a senior lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Nigeria.

Eira Tansey

Eira Tansey


Eira Tansey is digital archivist/records manager at the University of Cincinnati Libraries. Her active areas of research include the effects of climate change on archives and archivists, the role of records within environmental regulation, and the enforcement of recordkeeping laws. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of archives, history, and environmental policy journals. See more of her writing at

Lizzi Albert

Lizzi Albert

Co-Producer, Material Memory

Lizzi Albert is co-producer of Material Memory. She has worked at CLIR since 2012 in a variety of positions and currently serves as its Deputy Operations Officer. In 2016–2017, she co-hosted and co-produced the local theater podcast “Is Anyone Calling This Show?” Lizzi has an M.A. in Acting from the University of Essex and has studied theater in London, Moscow, and New York.

Meet the Host

Nicole Kang Ferraiolo

Director of global strategic initiatives, CLIR

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.

She has worked in London as a radio news editor and in French Guiana, where she organized international exchanges for the Ministry of Education. She has an MA from Columbia University and an MSc from the London School of Economics, where she studied international history and disaster philanthropy.

She received the Eric Hobsbawm Award for Best Dissertation for her work on relief efforts following the Hurricane of San Ciriaco in Puerto Rico, 1899. She grew up in Northern California and currently lives with her partner and two young kids in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Season 2 Episodes

S2 E8: What We’ve Learned and What We Can Do

What did we learn about climate change and cultural memory? And what can we do about it? In the final episode of season 2, host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo and producer Lizzi Albert try to...

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S2 E7: Heritage Has a History

Anthropologist Dr. Blessing Nonye Onyima discusses the effects of colonialism and climate change on Nigeria’s cultural heritage, from the changing migration patterns  of Fulani nomads to the looting of African antiquities. Link to...

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S2 E6: The Home of Memory

Where do we house memory? What do our records say about who we are—and what does it mean to lose them? And is there a way to archive tragedy without amplifying or exploiting...

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S2 E5: Living Heritage

In 2008, the Bangladeshi folk song tradition known as Baul gaan was among the first forms of intangible cultural heritage to be listed by UNESCO as endangered. Intangible or “living” cultural heritage includes...

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S2 E4: Climate Displacement and Cultural Resilience

Victoria Herrmann, president and managing director at the Arctic Institute, speaks with host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo about climate change and forced displacement in the US and what it means for different communities and...

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S2 E3: How We Tell the Story of Disaster

Natural hazards are among the biggest threats climate change poses to cultural heritage. In this episode, Dr. Crystal Felima talks to host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo about her path from academia to FEMA and...

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S2 E2: Archivists Against the Climate Crisis

98.8%: that’s the percentage of American archives likely to encounter at least one climate risk factor by the year 2100, according to a 2018 article by Eira Tansey and Ben Goldman. In this...

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S2 E1: Does It Matter? Cultural Memory and the Climate Crisis

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity. It stands to disrupt every aspect of our lives, including our cultural heritage. But how much do records, buildings, artifacts, or even traditions matter in...

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