New Vision and Voice Podcast available for download! Vermont photographers Richard Brown, John Miller and Peter Miller discuss their work and their relationships to the landscape and people of the state.
Friday, August 5th, 9 am to 4 pm - Come to a workshop led by Kethleen Mendell, Director of Cultural Resources – Helping Communities Discover Their Cultural Wealth(http://www.cultural-resources.org/). Discovery Research is a cultural inventory process by which community members are identified and interviewed for information on local culture. Through Discovery Research training, workshop participants will learn how to find out more about their communities’ cultural assets as well as develop strategies for sustainability.
This workshop is intended for students, community members, staff members of non-profit cultural, community, economic development, planning and social-service agencies, as well as professional researchers interested in learning about the cultural inventory process and developing place-based public programs.
Using Place: A Workbook, the workshop will begin by focusing on the basics of Discovery Research including exercises in observation, information gathering and community organizing. Next, we will look at what follows the Discovery Research process, exploring ways to develop local cultural initiatives and public programs that reflect a community’s sense of place and tradition.
Draw Out the Keepers of Your Community’s Knowledge and Capture Their Stories - Ethnography and Cultural Sustainability
Friday July 22, 2011 9am-4pm.
Instructors: Gregory L. Sharrow, VFC Director of Education and folklorist and Andy Kolovos, VFC Archivist and folklorist.
Ethnography — in particular participant observation and interviewing — offers a means to explore the ways in which people understand and experience the world, and brings into view the multiple perspectives that define community. In the context of cultural sustainability, ethnographic research methods provide important tools for working with communities to understand what people most value about the places in which they live, and to identify and explore the key cultural practices that define who they are.
In this day-long class we outline the ethnographic method for drawing out the keepers of community knowledge and capturing the important stories of everyday life. The class is structured around discussion, viewing and listening to ethnographic documentaries, and hands-on experience visiting pre-arranged field observation sites in the village of Middlebury. The class concludes with time for additional discussion and reflection.
This workshop is intended for students, community members, staff members of non-profit cultural, community and social-service agencies interested in exploring the inner workings of communities and organizations.
The final installment of Madeleine Winterfalcon’s “Voices of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Movement” features Beth Robinson, an attorney in Middlebury and a founding member of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Taskforce.
The full, edited interviews from this project are available to researchers at the Vermont Folklife Center Archive. They are edited for listenability only. The raw interviews are available by contacting Madeleine Winterfalcon (802) 453-6338 or email@example.com.
Audio is a powerful medium for capturing human experience and human expression. In the context of cultural sustainability efforts, audio is an extremely useful tool for documenting local knowledge, exploring values and perceptions, and building resources for understanding and supporting cultural practices. Just take a few moments to listen to some of the audio clips on our blog and you’ll see what’s possible.
Intended for students, community members, staff members of non-profit cultural, community and social-service agencies, as well as professional researchers interested in learning more about audio recording options, this class will provide a basic introduction to the use of contemporary digital audio recording equipment in the context of ethnographic and oral history interviews.
Attendees will receive a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of digital audio, types of common field-recording microphones, and the use of flash-memory based audio recorders. The workshop includes hands-on exercises with equipment in an actual interview setting. We will use the Marantz PMD660 for these exercises, but the fundamental skills demonstrated will be applicable to most currently available digital audio recorders. In addition to the use of this equipment, we will also cover the selection and purchase of professional digital audio recording gear.
AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER LEADS WORKSHOP ON SOCIAL DOCUMENTARIES
On Friday, June 17th, and Saturday, June 18th, the Vermont Folklife Center will host Conceiving and Planning a Social Documentary Film taught by filmmaker Mira Niagolova. The workshop will run from 9 am to 4 pm and will be held at the Vermont Folklife Center’s headquarters building in Middlebury. Social documentary films give insight and build awareness of issues of local and global concern through engaging and compelling narratives. With the advent of digital filmmaking, the Internet, and social media, the potential to make films that can work toward community engagement and social change has become vastly accessible. This two-day workshop will introduce attendees to the unique nature of social documentary films and guide them through fundamental questions in creating a documentary— including project conception, scriptwriting, production, distribution, and community outreach. As a part of the workshop attendees will review and critique selective excerpts from documentaries relating to various social, political, cultural, and historical issues and themes. The workshop will conclude with a “pitching session” where each participant will present his/her project to the class. Bulgarian born, Mira Niagolova is an internationally recognized, award-winning documentary filmmaker committed to telling socially conscious stories portrayed with sensitivity and compassion. Mira has more than 25 years of experience in both the film/TV industry and the nonprofit film sector. She has worked as a Film Producer/ Programmer with Bulgarian National Television, Distribution Manager with the National Film Board of Canada, and Executive Director of the Vermont International Film Festival. Conceiving and Planning a Social Documentary Film is a part of the Vermont Folklife Center’s new Cultural Sustainability Institute workshop series (http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/education/cultural-sustainability/). Cultural Sustainability provides a framework for examining human experience in present with an awareness of the past and a view toward the future. This workshop is limited to 14 participants and the registration deadline is June 13. Registration forms and tuition information are available on line or by calling (802) 388-4964. All classes are held in the Vermont Folklife Center building at 88 Main Street in downtown Middlebury.
y we would like to recognize the passing of our friend and WWII veteran, Cliff Austin of Vergennes, VT. Cliff, along with fellow veterans Harry Burney, Robert Norton and Bill Busier are featured in the VFC audio documentary, Prisoners of War: A Story of Four American Soldiers.
Prisoners of War: A Story of Four American Veterans can be streamed online here:
An Easter audio tidbit from the VFC Archive. Bonnie Stewart, Pittsford, VT village librarian, recounts the incident that caused her son Liam to reconsider the Easter Bunny. Warning: Contains Easter Bunny Spoiler.
[Editor’s Note: Guest Blogger Madeleine Winterfalcon describes her project, Voices of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Movement]
Voices of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Movement
By Madeleine Winterfalcon
I have always been interested in recording and documenting the culture and events of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities. From the early 1980s, when I first came out as a lesbian, I attended concerts, workshops and lectures with my camera and recorded lesbian culture. In the beginning, it was to combat the invisibility imposed on us – to show that we were making an impact on our world. It was also my goal to show how much we had to offer the larger community and that people who said we were irrelevant and had nothing to offer the world were wrong. It then grew to become a way to create images of our lives that would remain after we were gone.
As my passion for documenting the history of the lesbian and gay communities of which I have been a part continued to evolve, I added oral historian to my repertoire. In my master’s program in American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine, I focused on lesbian and gay history and developed my interviewing skills. As part of my desire to share different parts of our culture with both the LGBT community and with the wider community, I produced and was the host of a talk show called Queertalk on radio station WMPG for three years. This eclectic program addressed issues of interest to the LGBT community.
After graduation, my first major oral history project began with interviews of people who had been active in the gay rights movements in Maine in the 1970s. At that time there was a radical, vibrant and very active LGBT presence all over the state, but particularly in the Portland area. There were dances; Maine Lesbian/Feminist, a group created by lesbians that met all over the state; Mainely Gay, a newsletter published by and for the community; the first gay bar in Maine, Roland’s Tavern and later the Phoenix; and the first of 25 annual symposia that addressed issues and topics for the LGBT community. These interviews are now housed at the Jean Beyer Sampson Center for Diversity at the University of Southern Maine.
I was very involved in helping to pass the LGBT civil rights law in Maine. When it finally passed after 28 years, there was a lot of energy to work toward marriage. I became involved in this work until I moved to Vermont where I have continued to work on this issue, because I have come to believe that this institution doesn’t need to replicate patriarchal forms but can be used for our own purposes and in our own ways. The most important aspect, however, as I am aging, are the legal protections offered to my spouse and me by marriage. I, along with many other people, spent time at local organizing meetings and went to the State House in Montpelier a number of times to talk with legislators concerning a cause about which I had become quite passionate. When the marriage equality bill was passed and the governor’s veto was overridden, I was totally thrilled and amazed. My next thought was that the many personal stories I had heard during the campaign shouldn’t be lost.
In order to identify participants for this project, the Vermont Freedom to Marry folks were good enough to post my call for interviewees on their listserv. I also asked some of my co-workers at Middlebury College if they would be willing to be interviewed and they are included in this project. Respondents covered the gamut from pro-marriage to anti-marriage, gay and lesbian singles and couples and allies.
Everyone had important and interesting things to say about their experiences inside or outside of the marriage movement. I invite you to listen to the interviewees tell you their stories in their own words.
April 7, 2011 marks the second-year anniversary of the passage into law of the Marriage Equity Act legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Vermont. In collaboration with researcher Madeleine Winterfalcon, each Thursday for the next 15 weeks the Vermont Folklife Center will present audio segments from her project, Voices of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Movement on our Tumblr blog. The first segment will be available on Thursday April 7, 2011. Stay tuned for details.