Tag Archives: public history

Updates! Public History Things! Thoughts on Blogging!

Hello, dear readers!

First, an update on my Goose Village web documentary project:

I am still working on the editing, plugging away on it for at least two hours a day, every day.   The hardest part, by far, is coming up with introductory voice-overs that don’t seem pompous.  (I must keep in mind the motto: What Would Werner Herzog Do?)  But the end is in sight!  And I think it will turn out well.

I have been selected to present at the upcoming National Council on Public History‘s annual meeting this spring in Monterey, California!  I will be talking about the project as part of a panel on the historical interpretation of regional landscapes as it relates to environmental sustainability.  My presentation is tentatively entitled: “The Lost Landscape: Non-Linear Storytelling and Urban Micro-History in Montreal.”

In the meantime I’ve begun my first semester as a doctoral student at Brown University, pursuing a mix of scholarly research and publicly-engaged projects through the American Studies department and its Public Humanities program. I am not sure what to expect when my PhD program ends.  Traditional, history-related jobs that pay a living wage are becoming quite scarce.  But for now, at least, I can enjoy five years of job security in an atmosphere of creativity and resource abundance.  My goal is to make good use of this time and do as much as possible while it lasts.

Also: I have migrated my primary web presence to a new web site.  You’ll note that it’s a work portfolio, not a blog.  The fact of the matter is that I’m still figuring out how blogging relates to everything else that I do.    Wunderplatz became most popular when I was working in Alaska, as friends, family, a few public history folk, and various random people from the internet followed my adventures in fair Tenakee.  Then it was on to Montreal.  Throughout that time the blog represented an odd hybrid form of professional discourse and travel journal.  Now that I am back to routine life in the Lower 48, what is the blog’s raison d’etre?  Perhaps I should maintain two blogs: a personal one for friends and a separate one for “professional” public history matters (though, truth be told, these two spheres of my existence blur together quite a bit).  And perhaps while I’m at it I should choose a new blog name that is easier to spell and pronounce?

Until I resolve these matters, I will continue blogging here at Wunderplatz as the mood strikes.

As always, thank you for reading!

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Farewell Montreal! Reflections on My Fulbright Year

Wilensky's Light Lunch

Wilensky’s Light Lunch: my favorite Montreal hole-in-the-wall.

Hello dear readers!

Since my last blog entry, I have eaten my final plate of poutine and careened in a rental truck through sheets of rain back across the border to the United States.  Sadly my Fulbright experience is drawing to a close — but new adventures await us in our homeland.  My husband and I are now ensconced in our second new city of the year, Providence, Rhode Island, where I will begin a PhD in American Studies at Brown University this fall!  (And for those who know of it, yes, I will be participating in the Public Humanities program — it was one of the main attractions of Brown for me!)

Looking back on my time in Montreal, I’m pleased with how things unfolded.  I gathered a vast trove of material on Goose Village and the history of the land.  Hours and hours of oral histories.  A huge stack of archival documents.  Hundreds of photos.  And my job this summer is to finish editing all of this into an interactive web documentary.  Editing is my favorite stage of filmmaking, so I’m glad to be at this point.

Along the way I did encounter a few challenges, which I’ll mention here in the interest of helping anyone else who is starting out in digital storytelling or conducting a public history project in a foreign country.   Continue reading

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Asbestos, Quebec: Digital Public History Exemplar

Asbestos Quebec, Jeffrey Mine

Aerial view of the Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec. Photo by Susana Ferreira Machado. Used under Creative Commons license.

Today I would like to share an example of a creative Quebec history project that has really inspired me: Asbestos, PQ: A Graphic Novel.  It draws together history, art, and sounds to illustrate the relationship between the town of Asbestos, Quebec and its chrystotile asbestos mine, which is the world’s largest.

I first heard about Asbestos in a class on the history of Quebec that I audited this past semester.  We read a chapter from Jessica Van Horssen’s dissertation on the dynamics of asbestos mining in the town and its environmental impact at local and global levels.  Then we looked at the graphic novel version that she created in collaboration with her friend, artist Radha-Prema McAllister.  Though the two works are very different in terms of the level of detail they offer, the complexity and importance of the story comes through in both.  Continue reading

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