Summer Field School 2000 Collection, 2000 June-July



University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor James P. Leary, then Chair of the Folklore Program, taught the Folklore 639 Field School course and obtained funding from UW-Madison to support fieldwork equipment, supplies, and expenses for the students. Doug Miller, Executive Director of Folklore Village Farm near Dodgeville, Wisconsin, accommodated students with lodging at the site during the fieldwork phase, and with the main performance hall at the end, when students presented their projects to an audience that included people they had documented during their fieldwork. Folklorist Janet C. Gilmore, who was working under Wisconsin Humanities Council funding to help Folklore Village develop an exhibit on Southwestern Wisconsin folklife, helped students identify project topics and obtain contact information for interviewees. The student fieldworkers included Theresa Brandl, Katy Holmer, Angela Horn, Rebecca Kavanagh, Paulette Marty, Margaret McEntire, Amy Nord, Tina Schinabeck, Hayet Sellami, and Ayako Yoshimura. Jim Leary also shot some color slides related to the project's focus during this period.

Project History

Folklore Village Farm Director Doug Miller initiated a project in 1998 to prepare a photo-text exhibit representing the folk traditions of the Southwestern Wisconsin region where the organization resides. Independent folklorist Janet C. Gilmore helped Miller obtain Wisconsin Humanities Council grants to canvass existing documentary resources and then develop an exhibit based upon them. While she was engaged in developing the second phase in 1999, Professor James P. Leary offered to teach a summer field school in 2000 that could supplement documentation for the project, offer important match for the second Wisconsin Humanities Council grant, and give motivated students opportunities to focus on in-depth fieldwork projects that would lead to a public production and provide experience for future public folklore work. With funds from a Chancellor's Teaching Enhancement Grant and Kemper K. Knapp Bequest through the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Leary furnished fieldwork supplies and equipment and supported student travel expenses.

During June-July 2000, ten students participated in the four-week Folklore 639 course offered through the Folklore Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Leary trained them in fieldwork techniques, Gilmore counseled students about potential projects and contacts, and each student chose a topic and proceeded with the research, using documentary guidelines developed by Gilmore for the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Celebration Folklife surveys, 1996-98. Each student conducted and recorded interviews, made photographic images, compiled a final fieldwork report, and prepared tape, slide, and photo logs, besides obtaining releases from those interviewed, using the electronic documentation form templates provided. As the course reached its end, on July 6, 2000, students, professor and advisors, Folklore Village staff, and people interviewed convened for a festive evening at Folklore Village where the students gave slide presentations of their work and offered samples of foods documented during their fieldwork.