Continuing Education and TAI
Table of contents:
Community Specialist training
Introduction to field schools
The 2000 field school
The 2001 field school
Educators Web Bibliography
Ideas for Educators compiled by TAI
Downloads for fieldworkers:
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Community Specialist TrainingMonday, April 24, 2006 at Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Monday, May 1, 2006 at Minnetrista Cultural Center, or
Friday, May 5, 2006 at Conner Prairie
The workshops focused on the traditional arts of the I-69 corridor. So, what are traditional arts and folklife and why are they important to communities along I-69? In this workshop, TAI director Jon Kay described the community traditions found along the Heritage Corridor and discussed why these practices are so important in sustaining a sense of place for the region and developing place-based tourism opportunities.
We can learn a lot from talking with other people, participating in public events and observing the environment around us. Documenting folklife uses all these skills. The workshop focused on methods of recording folklife through field notes, tape-recorded interviews, and photography. The workshop looked at folklife documentation projects done by grassroots and professional groups around the country to consider what others have done with this kind of material to creatively build their communities.
One of the key factors to developing a strategic folklife initiative is to cultivate trained presenters. The workshops explored the techniques and critiques in presenting. Participants learned how to direct narrative stages, the secrets of good signage, and what every presenter should know to make their participants and audience enjoy themselves while they are learning about unfamiliar and familiar traditions. While the focus is on traditional arts, these presentational models work with any event or public presentation.
TAI plans on offering these workshops again in the future. Call (812) 855-0418 for more information.
Documenting Local Culture: An Introductory Field School
The intensive, three-week-long field schools offer hands-on training for beginners in interviewing, still photography, ethnographic writing, project planning, research ethics, computer applications, organizing materials, and developing community-building participation programs.
Experienced specialists provide lectures, workshops, discussions, curriculum materials, and guidance. David A. Taylor, folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress; Inta Carpenter, associate research scholar at the Indiana University Folklore Institute, and Phil Stafford, director of the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University, directed both field schools and served as the principal faculty. Other faculty members included Catherine Kerst (2000) and Michael Taft (2001), archiving specialists from the Folklife Center. Pat Glushko (2000) and Rich Remsberg (2001) came on board to teach photography. Teaching assistance and administrative support were provided by a number of others. Both field schools took place in Bloomington, Indiana, one in the summer of 2000, another in 2001.
The 2000 field school, entitled "On the Square" focused attention on the businesses, people, and memories that centered on the heart of Bloomington - its historic downtown
The 2001 field school, entitled "Community and Disability," concentrated on experiences, attitudes, and opportunities connected with disability in Bloomington.
Field School 2000 - "On the Square"
"It was wonderful and challenging to conduct fieldwork and analyze data in a group. The parts became greater than the whole. In our group, when one member tired, there were two others to help out. Tasks could be shared and ideas built upon. I found it incredibly intellectually and emotionally stimulating," said Chris Tobar-Dupress, who arrived from Oregon to join fourteen others from many parts of the U.S. as well as Canada.
During the time of the field school, from June 11 to July 12, Bloomington's town square was probably the most closely examined town square in the nation. Modeled after the American Folklife Center's previous field schools (in Ohio and New Mexico). The Bloomington field school proved to be an experience that brought strangers into community, both among themselves and with residents in the initially unfamiliar locale.
Field School 2001 - "Community and Disability"View a collage of participants and staff of the field school 2001.
"Who I am is somewhat affected by being in a wheelchair, but being in a wheelchair is not who I am." These words, uttered by David Carter, a Bloomington resident advocating the rights of the disabled in his community, echoed in the minds of the participants of the 2001 field school as they documented the life stories and personal experiences of Bloomington residents touched by disability.
Traditional Arts Indiana, along with the IU Folklore Institute, the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, jointly organized this three-week long intensive field school that offered training in the professional techniques of cultural documentation.
The nine participants, a mix of students and professionals, came from as close by as the Bloomington community and as far away as Mexico and the Sudan. The field school provided a lesson not only in the practical side of documentation, but also in teamwork and collaboration with participants of different generations and cultural backgrounds.
Participant researchers produced several hundred slides, a couple dozen interviews, a five-minute video, pages of field notes, and clearly organized summaries of interviews and slides. They formed new friendships. They heightened their own consciousness about the experience of disability, but they also raised many unanswered and troublesome questions for the Bloomington community to ponder. The final presentation, at the Adult American Center, explored themes on disability and everyday creativity, criminal justice, and issues of mobility.