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Highlands College Secures Humanities Grant for Historical Film Series


Highlands College Dean John Garic announced the receipt of a $5,000 Humanities Montana grant to help finance a landmark historical film series being developed by Highlands Instructor Evan Barrett. Grant funding, when combined with other proposed grants and matching money from Montana Tech/Highlands, will finance “In the Crucible of Change,” a series of thirty made-for-Cable TV programs about the period of Montana history between 1965 and 1980.

"In the Crucible of Change," is a thirty program filmed oral history project of the 1965-80 period which will be hosted by Barrett and filmed in Helena Civic Television’s (HCTV) professional studio. The series will “create, distribute & archive filmed oral history interviews w/ Montana history-makers from 1965-1985, from among those who are still with us,” Barrett said. “Since, according to historian K Ross Toole, prior to 1965 Montana was a ‘corporate colony’ of the Anaconda Copper Company,  the change that hit Montana - in state government, in the economic and political power structure and by enactment and implementation of a new Constitution - allowed Montana to shed its ‘copper collar’ and ‘corporate colony’ status and empower its people.”

“We are happy to have received this first grant,” Garic said.  He indicated that Barrett and HCTV would begin filming in several weeks. “This landmark historical film project grew out of the unique history class Barrett offered at Highlands this past fall semester, entitled ‘Twentieth Century Montana- People, Policies & Perspectives,’ which brought so many important history-makers right into the classroom at Highlands. That class established the high degree of interest in the history of this period but also made us keenly aware that the number of history-makers available to classes was declining daily. Filmed history will make the information available permanently,” Garic said.

The funding from Humanities Montana is largely made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The $30,000 project anticipates $15,000 total funding through various grants which are matched by $15,000 in funding from Highlands/Montana Tech, most of which is the in-kind value of Barrett’s time in putting the project together.

"In the Crucible of Change," will be broadcast on HCTV, other local public access channels in Montana, and via TVMT (a special cable network that reaches over 50 communities across the state via Charter [formerly Bresnan] cable. In addition, TVMT programming is broadcast over the air on PBS digital channels in Billings, Butte, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and Great Falls. Together, the film series will be accessible to over 90 percent of the state’s population.

The final series will also be made available on the internet through Montana Tech’s Digital Commons, the permanent open access site for scholarly work created by Montana Tech students and faculty.