FOLK ARTS IN EDUCATION
Summer Field School for Community Scholars
The New York Folklore Society and Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning (CDL) partnered to offer:
EXPLORING PLACE: SUMMER FIELD SCHOOL 2008
May 19 — July 11
EXPLORING PLACE: SUMMER FIELD SCHOOL
LIB-644580-05, Advanced undergraduate or graduate, 2 credits
Summer A Term: May 19 – July 11
Instructor: Alice Lai
Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning (CDL), in a partnership with the New York Folklore Society (NYFS), offered the summer 2008 blended course (including online and residency components): Exploring Place: Summer Field School.
The purpose of this course was to provide community scholars and students, interested in documenting, presenting, or researching the culture and tradition of their local community, the opportunity to learn fieldwork methods and strategies, and to engage with critical issues that arise in the context of conducting local fieldwork.
This two-credit, blended course at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level was comprised of online discussions of readings and three face-to-face weekend meetings (residency). Attendance at these meetings (residency) offered opportunities for students to meet fieldwork specialists, folklorists, and/or tradition bearers, to learn and practice documentation techniques (e.g., documentary recording/photographic skills, interview) in a selected local fair, and to present their project to each other. Thanks to the NYFS’s support, the residency expense including lodging, meals, guest lecture fees, and some travel costs was covered.
The readings and online course discussions included topics such as the concepts of folklore, ethics, documentation techniques, presentations of folklore, and other broader issues such as nationalism and culture preservation. Examples of folklore research were also included. In addition, each student was expected to practice fieldwork documentation techniques at their own local site. This culminated in a documentation or research project, which each student shared and discussed with the entire group throughout the term online. Projects dealt with any of the wide array of local or everyday life cultural traditions or practices that sustain communities: local arts, graffiti, billboards, yard decorations, regional dance traditions, local music, regional crafts, songs texts sung at local coffee shops, music performed at regional festivals, proverbs of community elders, regional foodways, or local storytellers.
From the Video Workshop component of the 2008 Field School offered through Empire State College, with film maker, Barry Dornfeld.