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  • Before studying Folklore, most of my academic background was in English and Creative Writing.  These three areas of study have done an excellent job impressing on me the importance of stories. In Folklore, we normally study story for what I would call ’emotional truth’.  Our focus is rarely on whether or not the story matches up to historic events, and more on why the story is told, from the perspective of the storyteller.  Two of the sections in the Inroads: The Intersection of Art and Civic Dialogue reading, “Art as an INVITATION to participate” and “Art as SPACE for civic dialogue” particularly expanded my understanding of the value of storytelling.  Because of the previous approaches to storytelling that I’m worked with, I’m used to coming at a story years after the story itself has been constructed and meanings have been attached.  The idea of being a part of the process of creating that story and discovering its meanings is completely new to me.  The question of how and when folklorists intersect with advocacy has been central to my grad school experience thus far, and these readings helped me conceptualize a folklorists’ role in this kind of production; managing power dynamics, facilitating cultural understanding, identifying groups that could benefit from this kind of project, etc.
  • I recently participated in the Life in a Day Project through YouTube.  Life in a Day is a documentary film compiled of video clips recorded on July 24th, 2010, uploaded to YouTube, and submitted to the Life in a Day Project.  While I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the entire film yet, I am curious about the role of the editors; who are they, and what was their basis for choosing and editing clips?  I think this kind of idea that could be extremely effective on a smaller scale as well, but I like the idea of a community arts project that takes its own shape; that is, I think community arts projects should be “edited” by the community as well as compiled/created.  Theresa May’s description of what Cohen-Cruz calls “reciprocity” is exactly the kind of dialogue I had in mind.  The theater approach to community arts dialogue seems to lend itself particularly well to the concept of including the community in the “editing” process as well (script development, auditions, rehearsals, performances, and “talkbacks” are all opportunities to engage in ongoing dialogue about the nature of the production).  In communities where non-performative forms of community arts are preferred, how can that same ongoing dialogue be constructed?
  • One of the themes that Salmon is Everything seems to revolve around is the tension between the farming communities and the Native American communities in the area.  Certainly, this kind of tension can be seen in many other areas in Oregon alone, and the  play includes valuable lessons for all groups in understanding how tensions develop and some of the potential consequences.  In an area like Eugene, where the visibility of a farming community (in a traditional sense) and the visibility of a Native American community are less than in the Klamath Falls area, how can we create dialogue that acknowledges those two groups as well as encourages the application of those lessons to other groups experiencing tension in the Eugene area?
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