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Monday, March 03, 2008

Bonnell receives first Bigham Award for “Snapshots”

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Dr. Karen H. Bonnell, professor of communications, is the recipient of the first annual Darrel Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Research Award.

Bonnell will receive a $4,000 grant for her proposed project, a second installment of “Snapshots of Southern Indiana,” a 30-minute television program she researched, wrote, and produced in partnership with WNIN-TV during her fall 2007 sabbatical.

The goal of the “Snapshots” programs is to promote tourism in southern Indiana and educate the public about the history of southern Indiana.

The first program aired on WNIN in February. It focused on New Harmony, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, O’Bannon Woods State Park, and Wyandotte Caves.

“With the Darrel Bigham grant we have the green light to do more of the sites we weren’t able to include in the first program,” Bonnell said. “There are so many sites to choose from. We are so fortunate here in southern Indiana to have Historic Southern Indiana documenting and promoting our historic places.”

The second program will cover Indiana’s original territorial capitol at Vincennes, the state’s first capitol at Corydon, and the Native American settlement at Angel Mounds in Newburgh. It will be broadcast on WNIN-TV and offered for broadcast to other PBS-affiliate stations in Indiana. The research, writing, video production, and editing will be conducted during the summer of 2008. Further programs in the series depend on funding.

Bonnell worked in broadcast media for many years and was employed as managing editor and executive producer at WFIE Channel 14 before joining USI in 1990. She said she is “grateful and honored to have this first Darrel Bigham research grant award.”

“Darrel Bigham has been one of the most important people in southern Indiana working to discover and document historic information, collaborate with people who have a common interest in preserving and protecting historic sites and documents, and disseminating that information to the community and the world,” she said.

Bonnell also had praise for Leslie Townsend, assistant director of Historic Southern Indiana. “The university is also fortunate to have the contribution of Leslie Townsend who was instrumental in helping to plan the first ‘Snapshots’ program. Leslie appeared in the program and went with me to do some of the videotaping at the different sites and was just a wonderful collaborator.”

Townsend said, “We were very excited about the quality of the proposals we received and any one of them would have been a worthy project for USI and Historic Southern Indiana. We ultimately selected Karen's project because we felt it had a wider impact on the HSI region. It falls under two of our main focus areas: history education and heritage tourism. First, the program is educational and informs people about the sites in southern Indiana. Second, it will hopefully entice people to come and visit, which is good for the region.”

Dr. Edward Jones, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said the award was named for Dr. Darrel Bigham, founding director of Historic Southern Indiana and professor of history, to honor his legacy as a USI pioneer in regional engagement and his service to the University and the region. Bigham retires from the University effective June 2008.

Historic Southern Indiana, an outreach and engagement project of USI, was created in 1986 to serve the southernmost 26 counties of Indiana. Its goals are to identify, preserve, protect, enhance, and promote the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the region. It seeks to implement those goals through programs in historic preservation, history education, heritage tourism, community development, and scenic byways. Its office is a part of Extended Services.

For more information about the annual Darrel Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Research Award and how to apply, contact
Historic Southern Indiana
at 812/ 465-7014.



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