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Discovering Community Summer Institute 2019

  • Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium 1302 Main St. St. Johnsbury, VT United States (map)

The Vermont Folklife Center’s "Discovering Community Summer Institute" brings together educators from across the state for a four-day intensive workshop from August 12-15, 2019 at The Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, VT.

With an emphasis on collaboration, the intensive will serve as both a project incubator as well as a professional development course. Three graduate credits through Castleton University are available upon request.

Discovering Community provides an introduction to collaborative ethnography and digital storytelling for the classroom, offering hands-on experience for methods of community-based research and documentary media making. Working with community resources and digital media provides a toolkit for personalized, student-led learning experiences. Participants will explore how this kind of research develops proficiency and transferable skills: clear and effective communication, responsible and involved citizenship, creative and practical problem solving, and informed and integrative thinking.

By engaging with cultural researchers, community-based artists, media specialists, and fellow educators, participants gain access to the power of ethnographic field research and working with digital audio, video, and photography as storytelling tools. Using the whole of St. Johnsbury as an experiential classroom, Discovering Community models simple strategies for deepening students’ relationships to their own hometowns.

Day 1: Collaborative Ethnography & Observation

Day 2: Fieldwork and Introduction to Media Production

Day 3: Fieldwork and Project Development

Day 4: Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Eight additional hours of in-classroom and/or on-site support by VFC staff is included in the Summer Institute tuition. Participants will leave the Institute with a project outline that includes support from VFC visiting educators. A follow-up session for all participants will be held in the fall to share projects and insights.

Tuition, credits and enrollment

Base tuition for Summer Institute $1150.00

Participants will meet eight hours per day, with the expectation of individual reading, research, planning and media making. Professional certificates will be issued to all participants upon completion of the expectations for the week.

Base tuition plus three graduate credits $1550.00

Three graduate credits are available through Castleton University for upon successful completion of the Summer Institute. Participants will submit a completed curriculum plan along with a post-institute reflection.

Advance Deposit Secures Your Spot $250.00

Your tuition balance must be received by 8/2/19. You may pay by check made out to the Vermont Folklife Center and mail to 88 Main. St., Middlebury, VT 05753 or call our offices to pay by card at (802) 388-4964. Purchase orders will also be accepted by prior arrangement.

Cancellation Policy

No refunds after August 1, 2019. Written cancellation notice (email or snail mail) must be received by that date for a refund minus a $50 administrative fee.

Scholarships Available

Partial scholarships up to $350.00 are available through an application process. Funding priorities are needs-based and incentive-based for educators based in and near St. Johnsbury.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact us at 802-388-4964 or