Donahue honored by Ohio Senate
Dr. Matthew Donahue was surprised recently when, upon returning to campus from a research trip, he opened his mail and found a proclamation from the Ohio Senate commending him “for remarkable attainment” on a recent project. Donahue, a lecturer in popular culture in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, said he was astounded to learn that the legislature, thanks to Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R., 2nd District), had recognized him for his documentary “The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project.”
An icon of popular culture, the T-shirt has been used since the late 1950s almost as a “removable tattoo” to express oneself, Donahue said, and has also turned into a huge industry, especially in the travel sector. He found that Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, is particularly known for producing commemorative T-shirts. He received a travel grant from the Popular Culture Association to explore and document the phenomenon, including Amsterdam artists, vendors and T-shirt shop owners. The resulting film placed in the top four among American independent filmmakers in the 2019 Travel Video Awards sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters.
Among those involved in the making of the documentary were BGSU alumni Joshua Lightle and Walter McKeever. Donahue wrote the music for the film, which was performed by guitarist Skip McDonald, a frequent collaborator.
Donahue plans to continue his explorations of the unique popular culture of Amsterdam.