New joint program in Public History off to a strong start

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BRANDON – The newest joint program between Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College might be making history as much as studying it. The Public History program, which launched this term, pairs academic history courses at BU with practical media arts programs at Assiniboine, giving students a total of four options to earn combined degrees.

“Enrolment in this new program has been extremely strong, which points to both the ongoing interest in history programs as well as the definite value in interpreting local history for local audiences,” said Dr. Rhonda Hinther, an associate professor of history at BU and one of the organizers of the new program. “The first course is already almost full, and we could only accommodate a couple more.”

Although the program is just getting underway, they are already expanding beyond the normal suite of classes and partnerships with area museums. This year’s Intro to Public History class at BU will be collaborating with Assiniboine instructor Graham Street’s audio class to produce a series of Soundscape Multimedia Projects.

These projects will also be a partnership with the Dinsdale Personal Care Home, where students will have recorded conversations with selected residents about their most memorable historical experiences.

“History is so much more than facts, figures and dates. History is storytelling — and telling these amazing stories is even better when you have a first-hand account,” Street said.

“I cannot wait to hear some of the stories that the people at Dinsdale have to share with us.”

“Each one of our residents has a lifetime of stories – emotional, informative, and entertaining,” said Gwen Quadrelli, recreation manager at Dinsdale Personal Care Home. “We are all so very pleased that these stories, their personal histories, will be recorded and shared, and will become essential parts of our community’s fuller public history.”

Head and shoulders photo of Karmelle Tower, smiling for the camera in front of a stone wall.
Karmelle Tower

Later this month, Hinther will be speaking at the Association of Manitoba Museums Conference, where she is also a board member. Three students from the program will be attending the conference as well, including Karmelle Tower.

“Finding out and learning about history in a hands-on way in the real world makes it so interesting for me,” said Tower, who is also working on creating a walking tour of Brandon University from student research the class conducted last year. “Creating class projects that people can actually use right away makes all of our lessons and lectures very compelling. That’s something I am going to remember and use myself, when I pursue my future career in education.”

The new joint Public History program, which was approved earlier this year, formalizes a relationship that has been ongoing between BU and Assiniboine for several years. It helps demonstrate the deepening tradition of collaboration between Assiniboine and BU. In 2014 the institutions, along with the Province of Manitoba, signed Growing Together – Vision 20/20, a memorandum of understanding aimed at fostering collaboration between the two institutions to meet student, community and social needs.

With ongoing partnerships that include students sharing residence space and transferring credit through existing 2+2 programs, the institutions continue to make Brandon a city where students can find the options, flexibility and amenities that they are looking for when pursuing their post-secondary education.


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