“Affairs of the Heart with Lonesome Gal,” a live radio drama directed by John Barber, professor in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver, will be performed at the Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Featuring local voice actors and sound artists, the show will be performed once only. Doors open at 6 p.m. The performance begins at 7 p.m.
“Affairs of the Heart” will sample five romantic radio dramas from the 1940s through the 1960s. The performance is part of Re‑Imagined Radio, a series led by Barber that presents live performances of new and classic radio dramas.
“Beyond entertainment, our live performance is both an exploration of how the original radio drama might have been produced, and an effort to promote civic engagement through community art and performances,” Barber said.
Today, a renewed spirit of indigenous activism coincides with the homecoming of some Passamaquoddy cultural artifacts. Audio engineers at the Library of Congress are using new technologies to convert rare, historical recordings into a much cleaner digital format, and, in a Native-first approach to archival work, the library is giving the tribe curatorial control.
The return of the Passamaquoddy archive involves the work of a large interdisciplinary team. There are, in addition to the librarians and engineers at the American Folklife Center, two academics who specialize in digital repatriation: Kim Christen, professor of English and director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University; and Jane Anderson, at New York University.
Christen manages an open-source content-management program called Mukurtu. Since its launch, several years ago, the software has been used by more than six hundred groups, including the Passamaquoddy, to curate their own Web sites and regulate access in accordance with custom. On the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, for example, members of eight participating tribes can log in to view materials specific to their community; the Web site of the Warumungu tribe restricts access to certain items according to gender.
The tool is not only for First Nations; Terry Baxter, an archivist in Oregon, is helping Don’t Shoot Portland, a civil-rights group that opposes police violence, use Mukurtu to organize everything from children’s drawings to protest announcements.
The WSU Office of Research presented awards to eight faculty members, including three in the College of Arts and Sciences, for their outstanding achievements in research, as part of opening ceremonies for WSU Research Week.
The Creative Activity, Research and Scholarship Award went to Kim Christen, professor in the Department of English, director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program, director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and director of Digital Initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Christen has generated more than $4 million in external funding, including WSU’s first institutional grant from the Mellon Foundation. She has leveraged this support to create and sustain interdisciplinary projects and workspaces, most prominently establishing with WSU Libraries the new Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.
She directs several digital humanities projects, including the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a collaboratively curated site of Plateau cultural materials; Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source content management system and community digital archive aimed at the unique needs of indigenous communities; and the Sustainable Heritage Network, an online community of people dedicated to making the preservation and digitization of cultural heritage materials sustainable, simple, and secure.
An Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award went to Tammy Barry, professor in the Department of Psychology. Barry co-chairs the Research and Arts Committee & the Centers, Institutes, or Laboratories task force, and provides outstanding support for the many Office of Research initiatives.
The awards included a prize for submitting the best idea to the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine, a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and STEM education. The winner of this award is Peter Reilly, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, for his idea “Ultra-High Mass Spectrometry: The Next Frontier.”
Douglas Gast has lived all over the place. But in the Tri-Cities, the acclaimed artist and art professor has found a good fit.
“It’s a great community—the perfect size. It’s experiencing growth, something that means possibility,” he said.
Part of that growth is in the local art scene, which is particularly exciting for Gast, who is an associate professor of fine arts at WSU Tri-Cities and administers the bachelor of fine arts and Digital Technology & Culture programs.
Gast is contributing to the scene by taking part Friday in the latest show at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
His own personal artwork aims to “identify and make use of the elements of the media that are fundamental to its definition” and create “physical and conceptual spaces where thought and communication can occur,” according to his artist statement.
His work is designed to be “thought through, instead of being thought of. It calls into question a variety of controversial socio-political situations.”