GMU-LOC Field School for Cultural Documentation

The Cultures of Work:

A Field School for Cultural Documentation

May 20- June 22, 2013
Arlington, Virginia

Sponsored by the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress,
and the Folklore Studies Program,
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Workers at Arlington National Cemetery

Course Content

This intensive course will offer hands-on ethnographic training for beginners in the documentation of local cultural resources, the preservation of documentary materials, and the public presentation of cultural heritage.  Instruction will cover such areas as research ethics, preliminary research, interviewing and sound recording techniques, ethnographic observation, and field note writing. Training will also be provided on the archival organization of documentary materials gathered in the field and the use of documentary materials for exhibitions and other public presentations.  Course instruction will include lectures, hand-on workshops, discussions, and supervised team-based fieldwork with a carefully selected cultural community.

Study Community: The Arlington National Cemetery

The fieldwork conducted during the course will examine the culture and traditions of workers at Arlington National Cemetery.  Arlington National Cemetery includes 634 acres of gardens, ancient trees and grave sites. This impressive landscape and its rituals serve as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest there.

Students will document the essential but often overlooked contribution of cemetery workers who maintain this iconic national shine, including gravediggers, landscapers, arborists and stone masons, as well as the military and civilian personnel who preserve the traditions and services essential to making Arlington the nation’s premier military cemetery.

Who should apply?

The field school is designed for adults who have a strong interest in ethnographic documentation but little previous training or experience in this area.  Preference will be given to persons who are in a position to utilize newly learned skills upon returning to their home communities.  School teachers, museum curators, local historians, leaders of cultural groups and foundations, librarians, community organizers and activists, and undergraduate and graduate students are among those who have benefited from the Center’s previous field schools.

For more information, please visit: Folklore | Field School for Cultural Documentation.


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