Artwork by: Mahader Tesfai
“It’s really intended to, both the form and function as well as the content of the Living History Project, was really intended to be
non-linear, let me just put it that way, because the reality is that history is not actually linear and we’re contributing to history everyday.”
– Marisela Marquez
The Living History Project began back in 2012 with a different intent in mind. Marisela Marquez, AS Executive Director, and Mahader Tesfai, the project lead, developed the initial tools and methodology for the Living History Project with the intention of presenting student movement history at UCSB in a nonlinear fashion.
They built a website using Scalar, a “cutting-edge, digital pedagogy” platform designed by USC. This style of web design allowed them to present history in a user-engaging format, creating events as plot points and connecting them through traceable links. This allowed the user to interact with horizontal and vertical presentations of history. As the project lead, Tesfai created artwork and performed research for the website. He reached out to departments and faculty, explored the Special Collections Archives, and sifted through old yearbooks and newspapers to compile student movement history on campus. He uploaded all this information onto the Scalar website and continued to grow this online archive.
After Tesfai’s departure from Associated Students, Marquez brought on Leah Bartos, a Journalism Advisor, to revive the project in 2016. Bartos hired the first Living History Project Student Coordinators in 2018, passing on the reins to active students at UCSB. During the Living History Project’s revival, the student coordinators decided to switch domains from Scalar to WordPress because of the lack of linked sources and technology issues with Scalar.
As student researchers continue adding to the Living History Project, they work off of the in-depth foundation Mahader created and supplement them with primary sources to allow the readers to learn more information and gain a personal perspective of this history.
Since then, the Living History Project has been student-led, functions as a BCU under Associated Students, and remains open to any and all student researchers who are interested in joining.