Vermont storyteller Daisy Turner (1883-1988) (Photo by Jane Beck)

Thursday, May 23, 6:00PM at 118 Elliot

118 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT

The Brattleboro Words Project’s monthly Roundtable Discussion series presents Vermont Folklife Center (VFC) Associate Director and Archivist, Andy Kolovos. Kolovos will discuss place-based audio storytelling and VFC founder Jane Beck’s work with Vermont storyteller, Daisy Turner—the daughter of the formerly enslaved Alec and Sally Turner who settled in Grafton, Vermont in the years following the Civil War. All Brattleboro Words Project Roundtable Discussions are free and refreshments are served.

For over 35 years Vermont Folklife Center staff members have traveled the state documenting the lives and experiences of Vermonters from all walks of life.  Over this time VFC has built an archive containing over 6,000 recordings, and has incorporated these voices into exhibits, websites, print publications, radio documentaries and, most recently, their podcast, VT Untapped™.

“The Vermont Folklife Center has been instrumental in shaping our approach to community-based learning,” said Brattleboro Area Middle School teacher Joe Rivers, who creates student-produced podcasts for the Brattleboro Historical Society and helps spread this developing pedagogy to other area schools through his leadership in the Brattleboro Words Project. “[VFC’s] student-friendly ethnographic techniques, and ability to engage learners with appropriate technology, have made our efforts to chronicle Brattleboro’s past more robust and accessible.”

The Brattleboro Words Project has been donating audio equipment and trainings to area schools and helping community members participate in place-based research and creative audio production on sites important in the history of words in and around Brattleboro, with a focus on indigenous and other underrepresented stories. Collaboration with VFC will help Brattleboro Words Project teachers and community researchers better approach the stories behind the places on the Brattleboro Words Trail, the  initial interation of which will be available to the public by the end of 2020. “As folklorists and ethnomusicologists we ground our work in ethnographic inquiry,” says Kolovos. “We seek to understand experience from the perspective of the people to whom an experience belongs, and audio interviews lie at the heart of what we do.”