Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.

Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Friday, April 17, 2015

You're All Invited!


Please accept an invitation to attend Radford University's annual spring Student Engagement Forum. Take a look at the work behind the scenes as RU students in the current spring class (led by Dr. Melinda Wagner) present their progress related to the "Roots with Wings" place-based education project and community building through partnerships of Floyd County High School, the Old Church Gallery, and Radford University (Wednesday, April 22, 3:20-3:50PM).  

Just prior to this presentation (3PM), students from last fall's related class (led by Dr. Theresa Burriss) present their work on creating supplemental teaching materials for "Roots with Wings" high school participants.

Detailed information including times and locations can be accessed HERE

Now, what did we do in class today?  Also, why such a fast turnaround post this week?  There will be no time next week!

FCHS students continue to transcribe the interview audio files which are then vetted by RU students and sent back for corrections.  This is tedious work (judging by some facial expressions), however I'd like to reiterate its importance.  

For others to enjoy recorded oral history they must be able to find it.  Transcribing, cataloging, and brief [but descriptive] file labeling are key elements. This includes cataloging all supplemental items brought in by families (which are scanned or photographed for the community archives).

Once transcription is complete, FCHS students dive into the creative process with the fun  part:  making a film!

FCHS students transcribing and proofreading their own work.  A few thought they'd done it absolutely perfectly, but...

...RU students note transcription errors for FCHS students to pay closer attention to when Q-C'ing each others' work.

High school and college students pour over transcriptions, making sure the archives process is done correctly. 

Have a great weekend, and see you next week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Focus, Theme Team, Focus


Remember at the beginning of spring semester when we talked about theme and story?  Well we are at that stage now!  Last week RU mentors led their film crews in a focus group session to begin weaving together a story from the footage shot on Interview Day.  

FCHS and RU students gathered around computers to playback footage and audio of interviewees in order to brainstorm a theme and construct a story.

Each four-person crew will further divide into a two-person editing crew -- so that each interviewee will receive two films (two new and different perspectives of their lives).  During focus groups, with lots of probing questions from the RU mentors, each team produced a preliminary theme statement and discussed possible ways to illustrate that statement.

This focus group created their own little sound booth to better review footage and discuss theme.

The RU students' semester is quickly drawing to a close (sooner than the FCHS semester.  Stay tuned for the final fun days and word of our film celebration in May, gathering everyone together for the students' film debuts. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Logs, Transcriptions and Starburst


We have our noses to the grindstone now. Two RU students gave lessons last week about creating content logs and transcribing.  These are crucial steps in preserving oral history: we can shoot all the video we want, but if it's not cataloged, no one can find it, watch it, or further edit it.

RU student Kimberly P. explains how to format and complete content logs.

Content logs are a combination of a table of contents and an index. Key words are listed with each corresponding time-stamp so anyone can glance at it and find out what's contained in the footage (what it's about) and when it occurs (where to find it in the hours of footage shot).

RU student Madison H. [at left] quizzes FCHS students about correctly conducting transcription of audio files (overly perky expressions may be attributed to "Starburst" candy prizes).

Before any content log can be made, we must have content to analyze.  With Mrs. Myers' preparation work, FCHS students are pros at pulling up audio files and typing word for word what comes through the headphones.  During class, RU students answered questions and kept a sharp eye out for formatting errors.  

Lauren B. (RU) helps Noah P. (FCHS) navigate the transcription process using instructions from the oral history project manual and student workbook.

FCHS students diligently transcribe each 5-6 minute section of audio while RU students patrol for formatting errors.

The major issue when transcribing is being able to decipher any dialect or garbled words; we learned to always ask someone to give a listen and help out.  If it is a complete mystery you may have to insert one of these:  _____ [missing data one word unclear].

always, always, always
your files. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interview Day Success


Last week FCHS and RU students transformed the Hotel Floyd into studio space using backdrops, props and audio/video equipment.  But the most important part of all?  The interviewees!

Two simultaneous interviews occurred in the morning and two in the afternoon.  We ran into a little trouble setting up one of the cameras -- it decided to turn off and on all by itself.  The crew handled the hiccups nicely; a film shoot without hiccups is only a dream.  That camera will possibly need to be retired and replaced for future interviews.

Morning interviews:

Al Kelley was interviewed by Floyd County High School student Reno Jungmann in the Hotel Floyd conference room.  Al brought his WWII Navy uniform, and he invited a uniformed Navy recruiter from Christiansburg to observe the session.

McCrey Shortt was interviewed by Floyd County high school student Luke Moran in the Hotel Floyd farmhouse suite.  Mr. Shortt brought his canteen and his 1940s camera, along with many photographs he took during his wartime service.

Afternoon interviews:

We learned that Marvin Nolen was part of the US Navy's "Mighty Midgets" fleet during WWII during his interview with Floyd County High School student Dexter Layman.

Maurice Slusher discussing baseball, horse-drawn farming machinery, and WWII experiences, among other things, with  Daniel Tsang.

The FCHS student interviewers and behind-the-camera crew all did a great job.  They took ownership of their crew positions, accomplishing the team goals.  For example, Alex C., audio controller for the McCrey Shortt interview, noticed when the air handler unit cut on (creating noise interference) as well as when the lavalier mic needed readjustment and alerted the crew so these things could be fixed.

Behind the scenes of a Roots with Wings interview, videographer Noah R. and audiographer Jason M. at work.

Now comes the fun part!  Students will be logging the footage, audio, and material provided by the families that have been photographed or scanned.  This is a bit less glamorous, but critically important for preservation and archival purposes as well as making the editing process go a lot smoother.

By the way, if you are in the area and need a place to stay or a conference location do consider the Hotel Floyd.