A public humanities project of LA River X/El Río de Los Angeles X, Pomona College, and The Claremont Colleges Library. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

The People’s Archive is focused on the world’s longest channelized waterway – the iconic Los Angeles River. Through community-based programming, curation, and archive-building, the project is extending the reach and depth of two existing humanities initiatives: LA River X|El Río de Los Angeles X and the Western Water Archives. The project weaves together three strands – narratives, counternarratives, and conversations – to make a substantial contribution to public humanities. Through vibrant humanities based conversations and events, adult and youth audiences will continue documenting the many narratives of one of California’s most important socio-cultural and ecological landscapes.

A partnership between Pomona College, the Claremont Colleges Library, and LA River X – this project is galvanizing community storytelling and gathering people together to explore the River through various humanities lenses, prompted by contemporary and archival photographs.

The team is excited to collaborate with Tina Calderon, City of Los Angeles Council District 3, Elysian Valley Arts Collective, LA as Subject, LA River Kayak Safari, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Las Fotos Project, Photo Friends of the LA Public Library, River Ridge Club and Stables, Riverpark Coalition, and the Society of California Archivists to bring bilingual English/Spanish public humanities programming along the fifty-one miles of the Los Angeles River.

This project will expand the existing work of LA River X to amplify and protect community storytelling. The project has three strands:

Narratives: we’re expanding LA River X’s existing outreach to amplify and preserve more and more community stories about the LA River. Every contributor has the opportunity for their materials to live forever in the Western Water Archives.

Counternarratives: we’re resourcing community leaders and culture bearers to examine and counternarrate parts of the LA River X collection in order to tell new (and old) stories to audiences.

Conversations: we’re gathering people together in engaging explorations of the river’s past, present, and future at forums, events, exhibitions and workshops along the river’s 51 mile length.

This project is bringing community voices, ideas, learning, and knowledge into public attention and into the archives. The outreach and activation of this project will catalyze new voices, upskill people in public humanities practices, and strengthen community through dialogue.

How do I stay in touch on social media?
We’re waiting for you on Instagram: LA River X and El Río de Los Angeles X.

Want to volunteer?
We’re ready to meet you! Volunteering is as easy as filling in this form.

Are you a student?
There’s a place for you here, to intern, volunteer, and even work for the project. To find out more, email us.

Want to host LA River X and El Río de Los Angeles X?
LA River X is a megaphone for telling the world your LA River story. You can read about hosting here and apply to guest host by sending an email to founder and curator, Tilly Hinton.

You’re Invited to Project Events (check back for updates and links to register)
Here’s what we have in the works. All details are subject to change as we adjust to follow COVID safety protocols:

  • Feb/March 2022: Guest host forum for LA River X alumni (online)
  • March/April 2022: Insider tips on photographing the river (Instagram Live)
  • June 2022: Storytime for the Apocalypse, an urban rivers special episode (online)
  • June 2022: Outdoor photographic exhibition, San Fernando Valley (in-person)
  • July 2022: Photographic exhibition (in-person)
  • Sept/Oct 2022: Digital storytelling workshop, Frogtown (in-person)
  • Sept/Oct 2022: Outdoor photographic exhibition, Frogtown (in-person)
  • 2023: Guest host forum for LA River X alumni (in-person)
  • 2023: Outdoor photographic exhibition, Long Beach (in-person)
  • 2023: Digital storytelling workshop, Long Beach (in-person)
  • 2023: First counternarrative exhibition launch (online)
  • 2023: Digital storytelling workshop for middle school and high school students, Frogtown (in-person)
  • 2023: Photographic exhibition (in-person)
  • 2023: Second counternarrative exhibition launch (online)

Inspired to explore the Western Water Archives?
You’ll find all kinds of wonders when you dive into the archive. Enjoy! And, the LA River X collection is in the process of being added to the Western Water Archives … subscribe to the Good is Better newsletter so you’ll be the first to know that it’s ready.

The People’s Archive in the news

Meet the project team
We are Char Miller, Tilly Hinton, Lisa Crane, and Martina Ebert. Our Humanities Advisor is Jon Christensen. We are in the process of establishing our project advisory board and recruiting teaching artists, guest curators, student workers, and other project team members. For more information about us and our contribution to this project, you can read our bios.

The project is supported by our wonderful community champions and collaborators: Tina Calderon, City of Los Angeles Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (Third District), the Elysian Valley Arts Collective and Frogtown Artwalk, LA as Subject, LA River Kayak Safari, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Las Fotos Project, Photo Friends of the LA Public Library, River Ridge Club and Stables, Riverpark Coalition, and the Society of California Archivists.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.