Matthew Donahue

Jim Calder

Matthew Donahue, speakers bureau

Dr. Matthew Donahue is a Teaching Professor at the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, specializing in topics related to popular culture, popular music, film, media and culture and popular culture and the arts.  He has lectured on such topics regionally, nationally and internationally and has served as an authority on popular culture topics for national and international publications.   In addition to his academic work, he is also a musician, artist, filmmaker and writer.  As a musician, he has released sound recordings internationally working within a variety of popular music genres.  As an artist, he uses popular culture as the basis of his artistic creations working in two and three-dimensional collage/mixed media, street photography and art cars and has exhibited his work at exhibitions, galleries, festivals and museums throughout the United States.  He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker for such films as “The Hines Farm Blues Club”, “The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project” and “Motorhead Matters”.  Additionally, he has made documentaries on the history and culture of art cars such as “Taking It to the Streets: An Art Car Experience” and “Car Power: Another Art Car Experience”.  His written work consists of the award winning “I’ll Take You There: An Oral and Photographic History of the Hines Farm Blues Club” and a collection of photography related to his art cars titled “Taking It to the Streets: An Art Car Experience” as well as writings on popular music and the arts.  His academic and creative efforts can be viewed at

The Blues and Ohio’s Hines Farm Blues Club 

The blues represents one of America’s first musical styles, originally out of the Mississippi Delta with an acoustic based sound, moving to Northern urban centers such as Toledo, Ohio when the music went electric, known as “City Blues”.  Toledo, Ohio was a hotbed of blues activity in the 1950s and 1960s, which led to the creation of the Hines Farm Blues Club, located in Swanton, Ohio.  The Hines Farm Blues Club was one of America’s premier blues and rhythm and blues clubs in Ohio and the country, offering a variety of entertainment including music, exhibition baseball games, horse racing, motorcycle racing and other activities.

The History of Rock and Roll

This presentation highlights the history of rock and roll and popular music from the crossover of blues and country music in the 1950s leading to rock and roll through the many genres since the early rhythm and blues, rockabilly scene to contemporary music styles such as punk, hip-hop, heavy metal and electronic pop.

Popular Culture and its Place

This presentation focuses on the role that popular culture plays in society and in academia, and ways to interpret popular culture topics through Project M.I.R.S.H., myths, icons, rituals, stereotypes and heroes.

Modern Art and Popular Culture

This presentation examines the way in which popular culture has been used in the world of visual arts.  This tradition goes back to Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque during the cubist era, to the pop art movement of the 1960s to today’s contemporary art scene in the so called “outsider art” movement.  This presentation highlights the ways in which and examples of popular culture crossing over into the arts.

Popular Music Controversies, Banned Music and its Ascent from Low Culture to High Culture

Since the early days of rock and roll in the 1950s to its many subgenres in the present day there has been moments of popular music controversy.  Rock and roll music’s rise in the 1950s, was met by both avid fans, as well as detractors to the musical style and this phenomenon continues still to this day with genres of music that have since developed including heavy metal, punk rock and rap.  Seemingly with every decade and subgenres of popular music that have risen since rock and roll’s rise in the 1950s, there has been controversy.  This presentation will highlight some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll and various subgenres from the 1950s to the present.  In addition to examining some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll and its many subgenres, this presentation will also examine how certain popular music styles have gone from being labeled as low culture and being banned to being celebrated and embraced by so called “high culture” institutions such as museums and universities.


Matthew Donahue

Speaker Applications

The Ohio Humanities Speakers Bureau is closed for the rest of 2024 and is not currently accepting applications. Check back later in the year for information about the 2025 Bureau!

Interested organizations can still book talks from our United We Stand Speakers Bureau.

United We Stand Speakers Bureau

Speaker Fee Structure

Non-profit organizations with an annual budget under $150,000 pay a fee of $50.00.

Non-profit organizations with an annual budget over $150,000 pay a fee of $250.00.

Schools (including colleges or universities) and corporate or private entities pay a fee of $400.00.

For any questions, please contact Program Officer Melvin Barnes at