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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

WSU Tri-Cities multimedia arts course a natural fit for hands-on, virtual learning

For an Art, Science and Technology course at Washington State University Tri-Cities, the transition to virtual learning proved not only to be a natural transition. It played to the course’s sweet spot.

Peter Christenson

As the title of the course suggests, students bring together what some may consider two sides of a coin – art, and science and technology. But for Peter Christenson, an associate professor of fine arts, the blending of the two fields is natural.

“The transition to virtual has been beneficial in some ways, especially in more digitally-focused classes,” he said. “It is essentially a natural extension to everyone’s practice. Our students are brilliant and very adaptable. They are the creative class of the campus. I have been impressed with their work ethic and diligence … With the social context we are going through, I have been impressed with the work that students are putting out.”

Kyle Kopta.

Kyle Kopta, a senior digital technology and culture major, came up with the idea for what he calls “The Photo Machine” for his project, where the machine automates the process of taking a photo of oneself. The user turns a handle, which activates a gear mechanism, drops a marble into a tube and triggers the shutter on a camera.

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WSU Tri-Cities

Cluster hire program addresses racism and social inequality

Five new WSU faculty positions have been created to help promote equity and diversity across the Washington State University System.

Elizabeth Chilton.

The new positions are an integral part of the University’s Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas cluster hire program which was initiated by Provost and Executive Vice President and Professor of Anthropology, Elizabeth Chilton to demonstrate WSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence. The program is designed to address the urgent need for faculty specializing in interdisciplinary research topics associated with equity and diversity.

The following proposals were accepted:

  • African Diasporas in the Americas (Department of History)
  • Indigenous Knowledge, Data Sovereignty, and Decolonization (Digital Technology and Culture Program and WSU Tri-Cities)
  • Music of Black Americans/Music and Social Justice (School of Music)
  • Racialized Justice in America (Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology)
  • Social and Environmental Justice (School of Design and Construction)
Lisa Guerrero.

Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, Lisa Guerrero, associate vice provost for inclusive excellence, will manage the cluster hire program as one of her first initiatives in her new position.

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WSU Insider 

WSU Vancouver partners with Re‑Imagined Radio to present a holiday tradition

“A Radio Christmas Carol,” a community holiday tradition presented by Re‑Imagined Radio, will return this Christmas Eve via radio rather than as a public performance. Listen to “A Radio Christmas Carol” from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 24 for free on KXRW (99.9 FM), KXRY (107.1/91.1 FM) or AM 1310. Online streaming is available through XRAY.FM and KXRW.FM.

John Barber.

Re‑Imagined Radio is produced by John Barber, faculty member in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver. This marks the eighth year for Re‑Imagined Radio’s performance of the popular holiday classic.

“We think ‘A Radio Christmas Carol’ is a community tradition now, and we’re pleased to share it with everyone despite the need to stay socially distanced from one another,” said Barber.

Re‑Imagined Radio is partnering with Metropolitan Performing Arts for vocal performance and KXRW, Vancouver’s independent community radio station, for broadcasting. In addition to the story, the performance will include music and caroling.

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WSU Insider

In difficult times, Clark County Historical Museum is still preserving history

Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) will wrap up a year of innovation, growth, and success in 2020 with the addition of two new sites to the Clark County Heritage Registry.

As the lockdown continued into the summer, CCHM focused on strengthening operations and collections. The museum launched a new website and online store with assistance from the students from the WSU Vancouver Digital Technology and Culture program.

The Collections team continued to bolster its acquisition and curation systems to ensure the long-term stewardship of items held in its care. Operationally, the museum looked into cost-savings opportunities in its systems and new or expanded development opportunities for the organization; work that will begin rolling out in 2021.

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Clark County Today

Mukurtu: A Digital Platform That Does More Than Manage Content

In November 2018, French president Emmanuel Macron pledged to return 26 artifacts housed in French museums that had been taken from the African state of Benin during the early days of colonialism. More recently, Germany adopted a new policy to return items collected under circumstances that would be considered illegal by today’s standards and pledged 1.9 million euros of research funding to ascertain the origins of holdings in its cultural institutions. The British Museum, which has committed to lending out more of its holdings instead of returning them to the nations from which they were taken, faces criticism for failing to confront its role in the continuing damage of colonization.

Kimberly Christen.

Even as governments around the world begin to confront their colonial histories, the most visible conversations about Indigenous property rights have centered on the policies, anxieties, and opinions of non-Indigenous leaders. Kim Christen, the director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University, has developed a tool for Indigenous people to recast cultural materials within their own experiences and histories.

“I don’t want to tell a story about Mukurtu as a digital platform alone,” Christen says. “I want to tell a story about Mukurtu as a connector, as a relationship builder, as something that provides a stage for ethical conversations and ethical structures. Twenty years from now, Mukurtu might be gone, but these relationships that we put in place are still going to be there.”

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National Endowment for the Humanities