About the research team

The Labor of Care Archive: Caregiver Narratives from CUNY and Its Communities will work closely with labor and arts-based community partners to create, showcase, and archive personal narratives by and about family caregivers who tend the elderly, ill, and disabled while working and/or going to school at CUNY, as well as oral history narratives from home health workers in the New York City area, many of who are CUNY students themselves and who often work in partnership with family caregivers. By making these stories visible and situating them within both a local and global framework, this research team aims to facilitate public dialogue about the politics and policies of long-term caregiving and end-of-life care in the United States.

This research team is driven by the following questions:

•  How does care work impact the life and work of CUNY faculty, staff, and students, and of paid caregivers in the wider New York City area?
•  In what ways do caregiver narratives illustrate and amplify migrations of bodies and labor within NYC and across the Americas and the communities that form between family and paid caregivers?
•  How can making caregiver narratives more visible affect policy research and advocacy on a local and/or global level?  
•  How can narratives be a catalyst for advocacy?

This research team’s faculty coleader is Kathy McDonald, Associate Professor of English in the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the City College of New York Center for Worker Education.

More info

In the United States, there are an estimated 50-65 million family caregivers who provide essential care to adults with chronic or terminal illnesses or serious mental or physical disabilities, and millions more who provide paid care in conjunction with family members and medical professionals. Despite being an important component of the nexus of care, for too long, there has been a profound absence of the voices of family and paid caregivers in discussions about health care.

What we do

•  Produce a playwriting workshop and final performance on caregiving with CUNY faculty, staff, and students who are PSC-CUNY or DC37 members, in partnership with Working Theater’s TheaterWorks! program and PSC-CUNY.

•  Organize a symposium on “The Labor of Care in the Americas,” which will bring together scholars of care work, producers of caregiver narratives, labor organizers and policy advocates

•  Offer a course in the MA in the Study of the Americas program at City College, in which students will learn oral history and archiving practices for performing oral histories with caregivers.

•  Create a digital archive that will preserve and share caregiver narratives.


Faculty Coleader