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:
2006 SUMMER FIELD SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY SCHOLARS
June 19 — July 28
Exploring Place: DOCUMENTING YOUR COMMUNITY’S CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
2 credits, liberal, advanced undergraduate or graduate
Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning, in partnership with the New York Folklore Society, offered a six-week summer field school/course on doing community fieldwork, June 19-July 28, 2006.
Course Description: The purpose of the course was to offer community scholars and other students interested in documenting, presenting, or researching the culture of their local community to learn fieldwork methods and strategies, and to engage with critical issues that arise in the context of conducting local fieldwork. The course was comprised of online discussions of readings and a face-to-face weekend meeting on July 21-23 (residency) in Saratoga County, near the ongoing County Fair in Ballston Spa, NY. Concurrently, each participant practiced fieldwork documentation techniques at their own local site. This culminated in a documentation or research project which each student then shared with the entire group, with an opportunity to meet folk artists and tradition bearers, and to practice documentation techniques at the local ongoing Saratoga County Fair. The course was available for advanced-level undegraduate or graduate-level credit.
Tuition Support via NYFS and NYSCA: The New York Folklore Society, through funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Arts Program, was able to provide full or partial scholarships to underwrite tuition and/or residency costs to a limited number of students who registered for this course.
Residency in “Exploring Place: Documenting Your Community’s Culture and Traditions”: The required residency for the summer field school/course on doing community fieldwork took place from July 21-23. This residency offered opportunities for students to present their work to each other, to meet folk artists and tradition bearers, to receive instructions in the use of documentary equipment, and to practice these skills at the Saratoga County Fair at Ballston Spa. Lodging and classroom instruction was at Kanatsiohareke, located in Fonda, New York.
Kanatsiohareke is the re-established Mohawk community on the shores of the Mohawk River in Montgomery County, New York, the site of the ancient Mohawk Bear Clan villages. The community is located on 400 acres of land which includes pasture for cows and horses, organic gardens, timberland, a stream, a peaceful walking trail, a riverfront dock, wetlands, housing for community members, two conference rooms, a bed and breakfast and a Native craft shop. The community offers annual Mohawk Language Immersion classes, as well as conferences and educational programming.
The residency included hands-on instruction in documentary recording/photographic skills, cultural presentations, and information on funding resources, as well as opportunities to explore the grounds and surrounding communities.
Kanatsiohareke community leader Tom Porter with students Jennifer Callender (middle) and Jude Valentine (right).
(Left to right) Residency weekend co-instructor Eileen Condon (New York Folklore Society) with students Sarah Davies Hosegawa and Jude Valentine.
At the Saratoga County Fair, Jennifer Callender interviews Molly, a fair participant.
All photos by Valerie Walawender