The Center for Folklore Studies, as part of its mission to coordinate and support folklore and cultural documentation throughout the state of Ohio, is conducting an ongoing research project focusing on Ohio communities’ responses to economic, environmental and cultural change through their everyday practices and expressive culture. Our primary focus is on Scioto and Perry Counties in Appalachian Ohio. Since summer of 2016, CFS faculty, staff, and students have been building relationships with core community partners in both counties and developing archival projects that support, document, and preserve local culture. The project asks the question: How do Ohioans create a sense of place in a changing environment?
Ohio State students assist in this project by documenting spaces of sociality, such as comic book shops, used record stores, local diners, state parks, community centers, farmers markets, etc. They interview farmers, forest workers, business owners, community leaders, young entrepreneurs, trappers, hunters, gardeners and others who have storied the lands they occupy in various ways. In the process, students consider the relations between city dwellers and rural groups, between old-timers and in-migrators, between diverse groups of residents. They discover the various ways in which these groups articulate their vision for a local future. All fieldwork work is accessioned into the Folklore Archives and provided to community collaborators.
The Ohio Field School Program has two major foci: The first are the various local documentation and archival initiatives we support through the Folklore Archives, as well as the Ohio Field School Collection in the Folklore Archives, which contains materials collected over the course of the projects; and the second is the Ohio Field School course, which is offered during spring semester. You can read more about each of these foci below.
The Ohio Field School Collection contains audio interviews, photographs, event recordings, and ephemera collected by CFS faculty and staff, and graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the Ohio Field Schools course. The project asks the question: How do Ohioans create a sense of place in a changing environment? To date, we have collected over 500GB of data. To request access to this collection, email the Director of Archives, Dr. Cassie Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of this collection are also housed locally in Scioto County at the following locations: the 14th Street Community Center, Portsmouth Public Library, Shawnee State University Digital History Lab c/o Dr. Andrew Feight, and Shawnee State Park Office c/o Jenny Richards.*
The Ohio Field School Course: CS5189-S (offered in spring semester): provides an introduction to ethnographic field methods (participant-observation, writing field notes, photographic documentation, audio-interviewing), archiving, and the public exhibition of research for both undergraduates and graduate students. Students will contribute to a team-based, immersive research project designed to document the ways that diverse communities express and preserve a sense of place in the face of economic, environmental and cultural change. The semester-long, experientially-based course will consist of three parts:
- Introduction to fieldwork (on OSU campus in Columbus)
- A one-week field experience in Perry County during spring break (where students will reside together on-site)
- Accessioning, digital gallery preparation, and reflection (on OSU campus in Columbus)
Thus, throughout the semester, students will practice all of the skills necessary to construct a permanent record of local expressive culture that will be accessible to future researchers and community members. Participation in all parts of the course is required. Though the course changes slightly with rotating instructors, past syllabi give a sense of the course structure and assignments.
Ohio Field School Archival Internship: CS4191 (offered in autumn semester): provides mentorship and training to sustain existing community partnerships in established field school sites (Scioto County and Perry County), such a digitizing projects, research projects, and exhibits.
Note: archival internships have been paused indefinitely due to Covid-19
For questions about this course, email Dr. Cassie Patterson at email@example.com.
Scioto County Community Partner Advisory Committee
Dr. Barbara Bradbury and Kevin Bradbury, Hurricane Run Farm
Andrew Carter, World Sound Entertainment and Watch Me Grow
Andrew Feight, Professor of History, Shawnee State University
Janet Feight, Professor of English, Shawnee State University
Marcia Harris, M.A., Time Out for Me
Charlie Haskins, Artist and owner of Haskins House
Jody and Martin McAllister, Friends of Scioto Brush Creek
Jessica Pacula, Portsmouth Junior High School
Jenny Richards, Naturalist, Shawnee State Park
Treva Williams and Grace Peach-Storey, OSU Extension-Scioto County
Perry County Community Advisory Committee
Andrew Bashaw, Buckeye Trail Association
Cheryl Blosser, Little Cities of Black Diamonds
Frans Doppen, Rendville Historic Preservation Society
Janis Ivory, Rendville Historic Preservation Society
Dr. Rachel Terman, Sociology, Ohio University
John Winnenberg, Sunday Creek Associates
Sandra Landis, Sunday Creek Associates
Nate Schlater, Monday Creek Watershed Restoration Project, Rural Action
Beverly Trovato, Destination Shawnee
John Winnenberg, Sunday Creek Associates
Dr. Theodore Wiseman, OSU Extension-Perry County
OSU Advisory Committee
Dr. Cristina Benedetti, Ohio Arts Council
Dr. Joseph Campbell, Lecturer, School of Environment and Natural Resources & Director of the Environmental Professionals Network
Sue Eleuterio, Independent Public Folklorist
Sophia Enriquez, PhD Candidate, Ethnomusicology, Ohio State University
Sarah Craycrraft, PhD Candidate, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
Jordan Lovejoy, PhD Candidate, English, Ohio State University
Mariah Marsden, PhD Student, English, Ohio State University
Dr. Cassie Patterson, Assistant Director, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University
Afsane Rezaei, PhD Candidate, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
Madeleine Smith, PhD Candidate, English, Ohio State University
Caroline Toy, PhD Candidate, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth, Public Folklorist & Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University
Collaborative ethnography engaged by the Ohio Field School has inspired several initiatives that take the spirit of the Ohio Field School and its central questions to new forms.
Placemaking in Scioto County, Ohio is a traveling exhibit collaboratively built by OFS researchers and community partners in Scioto County (go.osu.edu/sciotoplacemaking). The exhibit is currently being revamped for use in K-12 education.
Sharing Visions: Intergenerational Work in Appalachian Ohio brings together OFS community partners in Scioto County and Perry County to discuss common challenges and unique solutions found in grassroots community organizations (go.osu.edu/sharingvisions).
The Portsmouth Public Writing Art Collaboration is a project being carried out by Ohio Field School alumna, Molly Rideout, local artist Klaire Smith, and the 14th Street Community Center to research, write and install an original work of creative nonfiction inspired by public narratives of Portsmouth, Ohio. This work is supported by the Public Narrative Collaborative of the Global Arts & Humanities Discovery Theme.
Ohio Field Schools in the Press
"The Ohio Field School: Student Research on-site in Scioto County" on OSU College of Arts and Scienes News
"Center for Folklore Studies to launch traveling exhibit: Placemaking in Scioto County, Ohio" on OSU College of Arts & Sciences News
"The Ohio Field School: Student Research on-site in Scioto County" in ASCENT (fall 2018)
Recent Student Projects
IRB Protocol #2017B0005
The Ohio Field School is supported by a private donation from the Columbus Foundation.