Vermont Folklife Center Summer Institutes 2022: Learning to Listen

What does it mean to really understand someone else’s point of view on the world? It starts with listening.      

At a time when it is easier than ever to take photographs and video, record and share people’s voices, and hear news and stories from all corners of the globe—are we actually understanding each other better?

Folklife is everyday life. Paying attention to the “everyday” can lead to an understanding of our common humanity. By engaging with people on an individual level and listening to their lived experiences, we can deepen empathy and sit more comfortably with difference when looking at issues on a community, or even global, scale.

Join the staff of the Vermont Folklife Center (VFC) at one or both of our summer workshops to explore these ideas in action.

For a theoretical focus paired with a field trip, hands-on interview practice, and a guest speaker:

  • Documenting Everyday Life (in-person, Brattleboro, VT)—July 6 and 7, 2022
    With downtown Brattleboro as our classroom we’ll explore the foundations of what we at the VFC calls the “ethnographic toolkit.” These are the tools that help us observe and document everyday life: deep listening, descriptive writing, oral history interviews, and media documentation. Anyone looking to engage with a community or group of people to reach a deeper understanding about how we live and live together will come away ready to put these tools to good use.

For a focus on audio production and using media for community outreach:

  • Community-Driven Media Making (Online only)—July 25 – Aug 4, 2022
    This two-week online course is for anyone interested in using digital media and community interviewing as tools for social engagement and change. Participants will conduct a virtual oral history interview as part of an active community research project (facilitated by VFC) and work from that interview recording to edit and complete a polished, digital audio story. Access to audio editing software included in course fee.

Fees: Sliding scale starting at $275 (additional $125 fee to take for credit) per workshop.