Sarah Marty, interim co-director and faculty associate with the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the Wisconsin School of Business, is the recipient of a 2021 Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Project Grant from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Office of the Provost.
Marty and collaborator Joshua Calhoun, an associate professor with UW–Madison’s Department of English, received the award for their project, “Holding History: Reconnecting Communities and Archives in the Time of COVID-19.”
Launched in 2015, the student-driven public humanities program has brought the hidden histories of books, archives, and unusual media forms to the UW–Madison community and an intergenerational, public audience. The activities facilitate hands-on learning in a variety of formats, including archival discovery days, print and papermaking workshops, lectures, and reading groups. The project has hosted 2,500 visitors and interacted with thousands more through its digital channels.
The global COVID-19 pandemic forced a necessary pivot, Marty said.
“While The Great Pause came with abundant challenges for teachers and students—a vast understatement—it was also an opportunity to finally put a lot of aspirational ideas into action,” she said. “The suddenly 100% virtual educational environment was an opportunity to think differently and to leverage that digital space in new ways.”
As part of her teaching during the pandemic year, Marty collaborated with John Surdyk, interim co-director with the Bolz Center and a faculty associate of of WSB’s Department of Management and Human Resources, to develop pilot units on micropodcasting. She also served as a guest instructor and resource for Calhoun’s English class, which ended the Spring 2020 semester with a unit focused on writing for public audiences.
Marty said the new grant award will build valuable digital storytelling skills for UW–Madison students as well as support to expand on the pilot podcasting and blogging projects.
These two new platforms, “The Holding History Podcast,” a fast-paced audio exploration of media history and archival worlds, and “The Bookish Blog,” a collaborative space for written expression and bookish conversation, will facilitate the remote exploration of unusual media.
“Arts leaders and humanities scholars must practice translating their research and the value of their work, whether it’s a dance performance or what they found in the pages of a 16th century book, and sharing it with both campus and community members.”
The provost’s seed project grants are made possible through the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and seek to explore or expand new dimensions of existing translational outreach, community-based research, and public engagement activities.
Learn more about Holding History through the project’s blog and podcast.