Ethnographic Studies and Documentary Projects
Community-based Investigations consists of a series of neighborhood based workshops designed around a particular theme or area of inquiry, such as architecture, contested issues, urban planning, or public art. In addition to introducing broad frameworks for studying local places from an interdisciplinary perspective the workshops provide participants with opportunities to learn about and practice a variety of fieldwork skills.
Homeplace Field School was a five day workshop where participating educators used place-based and situated learning approaches to investigate a variety of cultural communities in Dane County, Wisconsin. The workshop included focused instruction on fieldwork skills and techniques from professional folklorists, as well as opportunities for participants to generate their own research questions, conduct fieldwork and develop media to represent their findings. Particpants also created and shared plans for integrating what they learned back in their local school or organization. The project was sponsored by the Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture and the Chippewa Valley Museum.
Staying Local is a photography and interview project aimed at exploring local youth’s identity in relation to cultural and economic shifts in Dane County, Wisconsin. The project followed several teens as they discussed their home towns, school, and career aspirations. A key focus was on the teens’ concerns over not being able carry on multi-generational farming practices, particularly in light of recent demographic changes and a decrease in the number of family owned farms in Dane County.
Dance Dance Revolution is a socio-cultural exploration of two DDR clubs, one at a university and the other at a high school. The video, photography, and interview project explores the history of the clubs, their inclusionary practices, and emergent patterns of play. It also explores the distribution and flow of knowledge within each club and the broader DDR community.
Taking a Bow is a video documentary that presents the culture surrounding Ellen Moore’s longstanding modern dance improv course. Ellen describes her early years studying dance with Martha Graham, as well as her own values and beliefs about teaching dance. A number of Ellen’s students also share their perspectives, highlighting Ellen’s unique teaching approach, the inclusive and caring nature of the community she cultivates, and the joy they find in dancing to music from her extensive and unique music collection.