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Vision & Voice Documentary Workspace



2011 Discovering Community Student Exhibition

2011 Discovering Community Student Exhibition

A Multimedia Exhibition

Vermont Folklife Center
Vision & Voice Documentary Workspace
88 Main Street, Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964
April 25, 2011 June 5, 2011.


The 2011 Discovering Community Student Exhibition brings together student-produced work from a cross-section of schools and special programs which was created in collaboration with the Vermont Folklife Center’s statewide educational outreach program. Projects in audio, photography, video, multimedia, and mixed media form an elaborate landscape of student possibilities—and instructor creativity. Community-based learning, ethnographic inquiry, and audio/visual media production come together in this exhibit to offer a vivid portrait of learning inside and out of the classroom.

Relationships between the Vermont Folklife Center and its educator-partners are as dynamic as the projects themselves, but the Center’s Discovering Community Summer Institute often serves as the primary connection point. Educators spend the week-long workshop learning the foundational concepts of ethnography and community-based learning, are exposed to media tools (audio, photography, video), and ultimately leave with a project designed for the following school year. Once the school year begins, outreach is provided to interested educators, in the form of help with project planning, direct in-classroom instruction, long-term project partnership, and access to audio and video recording equipment.

This exhibit offers a sense of the conceptual range of student projects and the variety of ways in which individual students engage with the ideas and the technology. For many of these students—and their teachers or program leaders—this is a first experience with ethnography as a research method, with documentary as a framing concept, and with the skills and techniques of digital media creation and production. Thus, in a sense each of these pieces is a work in progress, a record of a particular moment as students evolve and achieve greater comfort, facility, and capability with the process.

Eight schools are represented in the exhibit, featuring work created by over 200 students, grades 3-12, working singly or in teams. Individual pieces run the gamut from video created in Monkton, Vermont, to audio slide shows produced in Kigali, Rwanda. There is much to experience in this exhibit, and much to learn, both about the communities that these students explored and about the interests, perspectives, and quirky creativity of the student makers themselves.


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