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Berea Sound Archives Fellowship Topics

Adam BoothShepherdstown, West Virginia / 2014-2015 Fellow / Topics: Folklore; Appalachian Storytelling

Project: Using audio recordings from the Leonard Roberts Collection, Adam’s research focused on how storytellers put words together, the melodic and rhythmic qualities of their storytelling, and interesting or unusual phrases and colloquialisms. He found that many of the stories Roberts collected are interspersed with verse or song recited with emphasized drama. His study revealed common rhythmic elements used by many tellers from different Kentucky counties. These elements appear in similar narrative moments — even in stories with very different content. For the past three years Adam has taught courses in Appalachian storytelling, folklore and music for the Appalachian Studies minor at Shepherd University. His storytelling blends traditional folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. Awards for stories and recordings include a Parents' Choice Silver Honor, Storytelling World Awards Honors, and four West Virginia Liars’ Contest wins.

Mary Hamilton / Frankfort, Kentucky / 2009-2010 / Topic: Folklore

Mary HamiltonProject: Mary Hamilton has been a professional storyteller since 1983. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including the Jesse Stuart Award presented by the Kentucky School Media Association for her body of work telling stories in Kentucky schools.

Her Fellowship research made use of the sound recordings in Berea's Leonard Roberts Collection of Kentucky folklore, many of which date from the 1950s and 1960s. She compared and contrasted different versions of the same folktale collected from a variety of children and adults in southeastern Kentucky. Hearing how the stories were told provided insight into them that is not possible from reading printed text alone.

The primary outcome of her research was identification of stories for presentations in Kentucky schools, libraries, and  museums. Also accomplished were professional conference presentations, Kentucky Arts Council residencies, and "Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies" a book of Kentucky folktales retold.

Mary Ruth Isaacs / Kentucky / 2010-2011 / Topic: Folklore

Project: Mary Ruth Isaacs is working toward a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree at the University of the Cumberlands. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Berea and the University of Kentucky are in Child Development and Family Studies. She has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Kentucky and is currently an adjunct instructor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. This Fellowship will support the development of a college-level course tentatively titled, "Childhood in Appalachia." Isaacs will be using audio recordings and transcriptions from Berea's folklore collections, especially those from the 1940s-1950s. Songs and stories that reflect beliefs, customs, attitudes, and traditions relating to children and families in Appalachia will serve as one means of developing an understanding of the dynamics that existed in a period when television and social media were not the pervasive influence which they have become at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Susan Mills / Boone, North Carolina / 2006-2007 / Topic: Folklore

Susan MillsProject: Susan is the Coordinator of Music Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Her traditional music involvement started with high school folk dance activities in Pulaski County, Kentucky and eventually included playing bass and piano for folk dance groups and at commercial country and bluegrass venues in Florida. She has taught music at the elementary and middle school level and is presently involved in training other music educators. Beginning in June, her Fellowship work at Berea will focus on the development of Appalachian music teaching resources for elementary and middle school music classes that meet state and national music education standards. These resources will be derived mainly from audio and manuscript materials in Berea’s Leonard Roberts Folklore Collection and be made available through a teaching resources website, journal publications, classroom lecture/demonstrations, and music education in-service workshops.

Cassie Patterson / Columbus, Ohio / 2010-2011 / Topic: Teaching; Folklore

Cassie PattersonProject: Cassie Patterson is a PhD student in the English department at Ohio State University. Her areas of study are Folklore, Ethnography, Appalachian Studies and Literary Studies. Her Fellowship project was in furtherance of her doctoral research which addresses the complexity of Appalachian educational practices, both historical and contemporary. She is especially interested in how interventions by outsiders collide with local community traditions, both as critique and romanticization of culture.

The primary focus of her Fellowship work was the audio recordings in Berea's Leonard Roberts Collection that documented Roberts' use of folktales as a teaching resource. A secondary focus was the early records that documented educational philosophy and methodology of Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County, Kentucky where in later years, Leonard Roberts was a teacher. A near term outcome of her Fellowship study is a conference paper at the American Folklore Society annual meeting in Nashville, October 2010.