Window Seat Media Awarded Grant from the American Historical Association
Olympia, WA--Window Seat Media has been awarded funding from the American Historical Association’s Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations Program. This opportunity was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Window Seat is one of fifty grant recipients, which include site-based organizations, membership associations, and history departments at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Awardees will implement short-term projects that explore new ideas or build on experiments initiated during the pandemic—from online programming or publications to using new technologies or expanding audiences and accessibility.
Funding from the AHA will support a series of workshops and events this spring, summer and fall in conjunction with Window Seat’s community oral history project The Third Thirty: Honoring and Amplifying the Voices of South Sound Elders. “It’s such an honor to be recognized by the American Historical Association for bringing our community members together to create public history, '' said Window Seat Founder and Curator, Elaine Vradenburgh. “We’re excited that we have support for a new round of storytelling, workshops, arts events, and learning with elders in our community.”
Window Seat began this project in 2018 to encourage deep listening and to share community wisdom that comes from lived experience. Community members, who received training in oral history methods and ethics from Window Seat, invited someone they admire to participate in an interview. With decreased ability to conduct interviews due to the pandemic, but more time to edit, The Third Thirty evolved into a photo voice exhibit that paired short audio stories edited from the interviews with portraits taken by local photographer Molley Gillispie.
The exhibit features stories from eight local elders who were artists and activists in the 1960s and 70s. The stories explore how people experienced, understood, and created (community, art, legislation) during this moment, in this place. First appearing at Browsers Bookshop in October 2021, the exhibit is currently on display through the end of 2022 at the Olympia City Hall, and a second exhibit is on display at The Evergreen State College through May of 2022.
“The past two years have been challenging for small history organizations,” said James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association. “Our awardees have made compelling cases for their status as essential resources, making vital contributions to public culture. The American Historical Association (AHA) is pleased to provide funding for our colleagues to promote historical work, historical thinking, and the presence of history in public life.”
“NEH is grateful to the American Historical Association for administering American Rescue Plan funding to help history organizations around the country recover from the pandemic,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “Small museums, historical societies, college history departments, historic sites, and community archives are essential to keeping and telling America’s story. These ARP awards will allow these institutions to develop new programs and resources that will expand access to this important history.”
"While certainly not the whole story or only story of the narrators featured or of those times," said Vradenburgh, "our intention with this project and these stories to encourage intergenerational dialogue, strengthen community connections, and help inform the challenges we face today."
To learn more about Window Seat Media’s grant project please visit: https://www.windowseatmedia.org/the-third-thirty-community-story-project
About Window Seat Media: Window Seat Media is a nonprofit community storytelling organization that partners with communities to gather and share stories that have been forgotten, silenced, or ignored throughout history. Oral history and oral storytelling are at the center of our work. We experiment with a variety of formats - community oral history project, playback theater, story circles, podcasts, exhibits, and more - and work together with our community to build resiliency, strengthen identity, and correct collective amnesia about who we are together in this home place.
About the American Historical Association: Founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies, the American Historical Association provides leadership for the discipline and promotes the critical role of historical thinking in public life. The Association defends academic freedom, develops professional standards, supports innovative scholarship and teaching, and helps to sustain and enhance the work of historians. As the largest membership association of professional historians in the world (nearly 12,000 members), the AHA serves historians in a wide variety of professions and represents every historical era and geographical area.
About the National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.