Associate Professor, CDL, Sheila Aird to Participate in Virtual History Summer Institute Focusing on Media Production

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

March 14, 2014

Image of mentor Sheila AirdSheila Aird, associate professor and Center for Distance Learning area coordinator for global studies, at left, has been chosen as one of eight historians to participate in the Virtual History Summer Institute at Georgia Southern University. The program will consist of 11 days of intensive instruction and hands-on media production that focuses on documentary films.

The production of historical documentary films has reached an all-time high due to the proliferation of subscription television stations and streaming Internet websites over the past two decades. Almost without exception, these programs have been created by filmmakers and not historians. While some filmmakers use advisors from the academic community, many historians believe they have been used as “window dressing” by producers looking for financial support from entities such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or the National Endowment for the Humanities. Others feel that their input is consistently sacrificed to accommodate the narrative conventions of motion pictures. The Visual History Summer Institute will help remedy the situation by instructing professional historians how to use the tools of media production to create their own programs.

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