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Forsberg, Walter view

Curator of Audiovisual Media

Media preservation and conservation; Film history


Background And Education

Education And Training

  • M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, New York University , Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts 2008 - 2010
  • B.A. in History & Cultural Studies, McGill University 1998 - 2002

Professional Biography

  • Walter Forsberg works as Curator of Audiovisual Media for Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' pan-institutional Audiovisual Media Preservation Initiative. He holds a B.A. from McGill University, where his research focused on 19th century cemetery archives, and an M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) from NYU, where he also served as Research Fellow from 2010-2013 and as Adjunct Professor from 2020-2022. Walter was a Fulbright Specialist in Library Science from 2021-2024. His films and videos have screened internationally at the Sundance, Rotterdam, and Toronto film festivals, and at the American Film Institute and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

    Walter has preserved audiovisual collections for the Museo Jumex, the Kramlich Collection/New Art Trust, Rutgers University, and the Smithsonian Institution. From 2014-2018, he was instrumental in founding the Media Conservation and Digitization unit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. He actively works with international artists to preserve their films and digital oeuvres, among them: Madeline Anderson, Cory Arcangel, Jesse Lerner, Lillian Schwartz, and Naomi Uman. An advocate for community archiving approaches, two public digitization projects designed and initiated by Walter have been awarded the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s “Innovative Project” award (2014’s XFR STN and 2019’s Great Migration Home Movie Project). He is an active member of the Laboratorio Experimental de Cine in Mexico City, and Member-at-Large of XFR Collective.

    Walter has worked as an Archival Producer on documentary projects for the National Film Board of Canada, the New York Times, and for the City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign exhibition, winner of the 2019 Smithsonian Institution Secretary’s Research Prize. His current research and preservation praxis focus on ephemeral and orphan works, African American documentary, and independent Mexican productions of the immediate pre- and post-NAFTA era. 

    Walter has co-authored several institutional policy papers, including: the Association of Recorded Sound Collections Technical Committee’s Study of Embedded Metadata Support in Audio Recording Software (2011); the NYU Libraries publication, Video At Risk: Strategies for Preserving Commercial Video Collections in Libraries, Section 108 Copyright Guidelines (2013); and the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office’s white paper, Web Content Accessibility for Digital Audiovisual Assets (2020). His recent scholarship on media art conservation appears in BlackFlash magazine, the Duke University Press anthology Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film, and the INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, where he is a contributing editor. In 2023 Canyon Cinema published his co-edited anthology about Mexican microcinemas, Cine-Espacios.

Research And Grants


Selected Publications

  • Chapter

    • Forsberg, Walter. 2019. "Red Star/Black Star: The Early Career of Film Editor Hortense Beveridge, 1948-1968." In Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film. Field, Allyson Nadia and Gordon, Marsha, editors. 112–135. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. 2019



Mailing Address

  • Smithsonian Institution Archives

    600 Maryland Avenue SW, Suite 3000-W

    Washington, DC  20024