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Archives, Media, and Identity

Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 12:57pm

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Resources

Using Archives to Enhance Teaching & Learning

How can media history inform our understanding of our current moment? What is the role of media in the construction of identity, social hierarchies, and our understanding of power? Recognizing that archival and primary source materials provide evidence that can help answer these kinds of questions, Professor Helen Morgan Parmett decided to experiment by integrating an upper-class research and writing assignment with resources at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a division of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.

 

Last quarter students from Professor Morgan Parmett’s Communications Studies 416 class, “Cultural History of Media and Identity,” spent several hours at the CPNWS to review a variety of primary source archival materials in their consideration of the intersections between cultural history, media, and identity formation.

This was the first time many of these students had ever worked directly with archival materials, and CPNWS staff sought to provide contrasting examples of locally-produced media by also including materials that spoke to the experiences, interests, and voices of traditionally under-represented individuals and groups. For example, in addition to exploring historic issues of more mainstream publications such as the Bellingham Herald, students also examined the Northwest Passage, an alternative newspaper produced from 1969-1986, as well as a range of newsletters and educational materials produced by women’s organizations and LGBTA+ advocacy groups.

Heritage Resources Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction Roz Koester helped facilitate the inquiry process by asking students to consider not just the materials in front of them, but to also think about what was not kept.

 

"Since we so often rely on written documentation to provide evidence of our shared cultural heritage, it's important to be aware that there are stories and experiences that remain untold,” explained Koester. “A lot of records don't get preserved, so, as researchers, you need to not only be thinking about the information that's available in the resources you're using, but also what might be missing. And we should all be thinking about how we can engage those hidden voices in order to preserve a more complete picture of our history."

As a required component of their research and writing assignment, students were expected to contribute to the scholarship of media history and identity found in secondary literature by constructing an original argument based on archival evidence of media influence on the construction Pacific Northwest identities.

 

Professor Morgan Parmett hopes that through this assignment, her students will develop a greater understanding not only of media history, but also of where we are now and how we are currently using media. She emphasized how we can learn much about today by considering the media histories of the past:

 

“For one, they disillusion us from the idea that things have always been a certain way by demonstrating the conflicts, debates, and struggles out of which our current moment emerged,” explained Professor Morgan Parmett. “These histories illuminate the fact that many of the debates we currently have about media and its societal effects are, in fact, not new. Seeing how these debates were resolved in earlier periods may provide insights for how we might move forward into our media futures in more socially just ways.”

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together these units provide for the responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.  For more information about how Heritage Resources supports the research needs of students and educators, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 


2016 Undergraduate Research Award

Posted on: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 10:55am

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Submissions Request - Applications Due April 15th

The Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award is given annually to three students who demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of papers for Western Washington University college credit courses that were taught during either fall or winter quarters of the current academic year. The Award gives students the opportunity to showcase to their research skills and the valuable work they are doing here at Western!

 

Each award winner will receive $500.00 and publication in Western CEDAR, Western’s institutional repository. Western Libraries invites all undergraduate students enrolled at Western to submit their research papers for consideration by April 15, 2016. Submissions can be representative of any discipline, as long as they include an original thesis supported by ample research, and demonstrate exceptional ability in identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing sources.


At Western, undergraduate students have unparalleled access to research opportunities that are supported by faculty mentors. Western Libraries views the research work of undergraduate students as being tremendously valuable, both in terms of the teaching and learning experience the research process creates, and also because of the research outputs students themselves generate.


Publishing the winning research papers in Western CEDAR makes them available to anyone in the world, enabling students to contribute to the scholarship of their chosen fields while also participating in the growing global movement to provide open access to scholarship and creative works.

 

In order to apply, students must include with their research paper a 500-700 word reflective essay which explains their research strategies, and details how they used the collections and resources of Western Libraries. Submissions should also include a letter of support from the instructor of the class for which the research paper was completed.


If you are a faculty member who wants to recognize the work of your best students, or if you are a student with an exceptional research paper that you would love to showcase and share, we hope you will consider the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award.


Winners will be announced by May 15, 2016 and invited to attend a special reception with their faculty mentors hosted by Western Libraries.  For more information and submission guidelines, please see: http://libguides.wwu.edu/undergradaward or contact Elizabeth.Stephan@wwu.edu.

 


Wallie V. Funk & Community Journalism

Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 8:22am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

When Local Becomes National

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Special Collections we were honored to host the very special event "When local becomes national," during which panelists spoke about community journalism and the impact of the work of noted and prolific photographer, Wallie V. Funk. Wallie was also in attendance along with members of his family, and he made the event even more meaningful by sharing some of his memories enriching the conversation with his perspective.

 

Between 75 and 80 people were in attendance to listen to tales of Wallie's contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism.

 

During his long career as a photographer, journalist and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Wallie V. Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidential visits to the state of Washington; the Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ concerts in Seattle; the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture; local and regional accidents and disasters (both natural and man-made); and community events and military activities on Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.

 

 

Panelists spoke about the impact of Wallie's work on his community and its surrounding area, and talked about how he used his photography and storytelling talents to draw attention to important matters in order to benefit and improve the lives of those around him. Each panelist had personal ties to Wallie, having worked closely with him while developing an enduring friendship.

 

 

Panelists were Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal community and local historian; Paul Cocke, Director of Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing and former news editor of the Anacortes American; Elaine Walker, curator of collections at the Anacortes Museum and former news editor of the Anacortes American; and Scott Terrell, photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald and WWU journalism instructor.

 

 

The presentation was sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, the WWU Department of Journalism and Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

 

A photographic exhibit featuring Funk's images is available for viewing weekdays in Special Colelctions between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., (excluding weekends and holidays).  The photographs on display in the exhibit represent a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints, and negatives donated by Walle V. Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. If you are interested in learning more about this collection, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 

 


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