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Sunny Nash Wins Endowment Award in History

May 4, 2015
Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash

“As a journalist, I learned many years ago that news is history in the making,” said Sunny Nash, winner of the 2014-15 Ottis Lock Endowment Award and Research Grant. “As a writer-photographer, my goal with the Lock grant is to attract audiences to history.”

Through historical research, photographic restoration and archival document reproduction Nash plans to develop approaches that excite audiences about history,  employing principles of an emerging classroom and library discipline—visual literacy—a teachable set of skills that enables a person to understand a subject by viewing images, such as photographs, documents, illustrations, charts and graphs. “I will combine technology-based visual and aural literacy with digital literacy derived from reading texts to engage several modes of learning and enhance the study and understanding of history.”

Nash’s visual literacy model to complete her photographic and oral history study, The Peterson Legacy, will depict a micro-cosmic examination of early African American life, a perfect enticement to bring academic researchers, and university and local school students into libraries and others from around the globe onto a scholarly online research guide, which Nash will develop using the Lock grant. “Online research is an ordinary part of any student of researcher’s life, one reason a guide about the Peterson family and homestead will be so useful,” said Nash, who was part of the original archaeological team that facilitated the nomination of the family farm to the 19th Century Peterson farmstead in southern Brazos County to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C.

“Scholars need to be able to find as many trustworthy sources of information on a topic in one place as possible,” Nash said. “That is simply the way the academic world and the rest of the world, for that matter, exist today. Most every aspect of life involves some form of technology.”

“The Peterson historic photographic restorations, oral history interviews and antique document reproductions have intrinsic qualities that penetrate deeper than the surface of standard data collection, allowing a more critical examination, extraction and interpretation of meaning,” Nash said. I guess my treatment of those qualities are what helped me to win the Lock Award. A combination of visuals, written text and oral history gives the viewer a glimpse of cultural history and may pique curiosity in a shared past, present and future.”


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