In the days following Hurricane Irene, the Vermont Folklife Center was approached by many people looking to gather stories about the experience of the tropical storm and identify ways to distribute and collect these experiences in a meaningful way. “Where do we begin?” “What questions do we ask?” were common queries that ultimately led to this guide.
“We believe that even more than a historical record, the stories and the collective experience of this disaster can serve Vermont’s communities at this very moment,” Baker says. “As Vermonters begin the process of reconstruction, the stories of collaboration and generosity, solidarity and mutual aid that sprang out of this event can be shared, amplified and help to fortify our civil society.”
“The Vermont Folklife Center believes listening is just as important as asking questions,” says Greg Sharrow, Director of Education, “and that if the interviewer can establish his/her role primarily as a listener with the intent of bearing witness to someone’s testimony, a safe space is created.”
The guide gives an overview of the VFC’s interview process and provides guiding questions that can be used to conduct ethnographic interviews about the experience and significance of the storm.
This guide is available for browsing and for download as a pdf at the following website: http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/archive/irene.html. The Vermont Folklife Center is offering itself as a resource to individuals and communities and can be reached by calling (802) 388-4964. Director of Education Greg Sharrow and Vermont Folklife Center Fellow Aylie Baker can be reached via email at gsharrow and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much of the power inherent in digital audio resides in the ease with which one can build compelling aural narratives from collections of field audio recordings. Inexpensive—even free—audio editing tools allow individuals and communities to create rich audio documentaries that communicate cultural knowledge and practices, perspectives and values. The World Wide Web increasingly serves as platform for distribution of these materials to an international audience.
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 digital audio editing, this two-session workshop will guide attendees thought the basics of editing audio recordings to create audio documentaries, podcasts and shorts. Basic computer skills are required, but no editing experience is necessary for this course.
The workshop combines hands on exercises with classroom discussion to address fundamental technical and conceptual concerns in the creation of audio documentaries. Attendees will receive instruction in the use of audio recording equipment and then head out to sites in the village Middlebury to conduct coordinated “man-on-the-street” interviews. Using these recordings as raw material, attendees then work with the instructor to create shorted edited pieces. Although the course is taught using Apple Macintosh computers and software, the fundamental skills developed will be transferable to any audio editing platform. By the conclusion of this two day class, attendees will have enough editing know-how to start working with their own sound at home.
September 14, 2011 7:30 pm John Dewey Lounge, 2nd Floor, Old Mill Building, UVM
Stories of farming and the sense of place derived from this experience have historically been the predominant Vermont narrative. For the last fifty years, however, Vermont farms have dwindled from roughly 11,000 to currently a little over 1,000. For many, this is Vermont’s gravest crisis. The Vermont Department of Tourism has for many years been attempting to address this environmental, financial and identity disaster by revitalizing the tourism industry by creating a Vermont “brand.” This branding of state imagery and story captures the desires most sought after by people from elsewhere: bucolic landscapes and recreational activities. But what other stories exist in the agriculture and tourism narrative? Who else is a character, albeit silent, in this four season recreational theme park? Not everyone who comes to “brand” Vermont has chosen to be here for farms and fields and forests. Not everyone who travels the highways does so with notions of relaxation: In a bus station in White River Junction, veterans wait hours to travel back to their homes after their twice a month visit to the VA Hospital; From the Burlington Airport, a father flies to Chicago nearly four times a month to manage a company but live near family in Montreal. To be rooted, a man drives 45 minutes from Montpelier to Lyndonville for work each day. To be rooted, a mother drives her children from the Islands to Burlington High School. To keep entire families rooted, nearly 2,500 Mexican farm workers live in Vermont. To be rooted, a Fairfield farmer drives to New York City to sell his maple syrup. In this collection of essays, movement, migration and travel become the threads that redefine and reexamine what it means and what it takes to be rooted in Vermont.