Ohio Field Schools

Click here for information about Placemaking in Scioto County, Ohio, the Ohio Field School traveling exhibit!

 

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 and staff have been building relationships with core community partners in both counties and developing archival projects that support, document, and preserve local culture. 

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. Through reflection and discussion, students contribute to the research project’s developing conceptualization of “local culture,” “community revitalization” and “diverse environmentalisms.” All student work is coded and deposited in the Ohio State University Folklore Archives.

The Ohio Field Schools initiative, then, has two major foci: The first is the various local documentation and archival initiatives we support through the Folklore Archives, as well as the Ohio Field Schools Collection in the Folklore Archives, which contains materials collected over the course of the projects; and the second is the Ohio Field Schools course, which is offered during spring semester. You can read more about each of these foci below.

The Ohio Field Schools Collection contains audio interviews, photographs, fieldnotes, 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 127GB of data, including 45 interviews, 1,500 photographic images, and 9 public event recordings. To request access to this collection, email the Director of Archives, Dr. Cassie Patterson at patterson.493@osu.edu. 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 Schools Course: CS691-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 Scioto 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.  

For questions about this course, email Dr. Cassie Patterson at patterson.493@osu.edu.

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)

Community Partner Advisory Committee

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our community partners in Scioto County!

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
Jenny Richards, Naturalist, Shawnee State Park
Treva Williams, OSU Extension-Scioto County

OSU Advisory Committee

Dr. Cristina Benedetti, Instructional Specialist and Public Folklorist, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University
Sue Eleuterio, Independent Public Folklorist
Sophia Enriquez, PhD Student, Ethnomusicology, Ohio State University
Sarah Craycrraft, PhD Student, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
Jordan Lovejoy, PhD Student, English, Ohio State University
Dr. Cassie Patterson, Assistant Director, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University
Afsane Rezaei, PhD Candidate, English, Ohio State University
Madeleine Smith, PhD Student, English, Ohio State University
Caroline Toy, PhD Candidate, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
 

IRB Protocol #2017B0005

 

Columbus Foundation logoThe Ohio Field Schools are sponsored by a generous gift from the Columbus Foundation.

 

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