Myles Jewell: Ethnographic Approaches to Media Production
Ethnographer, filmmaker and photographer Myles Jewell joined the staff of the VFC's Education program in 2015 where he took on the role of Education Outreach and Media Instructor. Myles's experience as a videographer and educator quickly put him at the center or our work in schools.
We asked Myles to share a bit about himself:
I was lucky to join the VFC staff in the fall of 2015. The backstory is that I traveled with fellow staff member Ned Castle to Rwanda as a part of the Harwood Union High School Stories of Hope group in February of 2015. The journey felt like the culmination of my academic work, especially because of how the trip is framed by the Folklife Center with a focus on collaborative and ethnographic approaches to media. As a result, I was brought on as an Education Outreach and Media Instructor in the fall of 2015, but I guess I should explain how I got here.
During my undergraduate work at the University of Vermont (2001-2005) I was first and foremost focused on my English major and getting some video production experience. However, after a few electives I quickly fell in love with Anthropology - and more specifically, Visual Anthropology. This led to a double major in English and Anthropology and a minor in Film Studies.
I took a year off before continuing my academic work and earning a Master’s of Arts from New York University in Cinema Studies, as well as an Advanced Certificate from the Culture and Media Program. The certificate program is focused on documentary video production and ethnographic approaches to media. Learning the history of ethnography and being introduced to figures like Jean Rouch, I knew that ethnography would help me more fully understand cross-cultural representation and the ethics of representing reality and storytelling. I have a long time interest in exploring the tension between fiction and nonfiction, and the continued exploration of this theme was a large part of my theoretical focus in graduate school.
After graduate school, I began focusing on my own production work and also developed a series of workshops on Minimal Resource Filmmaking. Being able to spend years in different classrooms as a teaching artist set up me up to be the right candidate for the VFC's Discovering Community program.
Following my first year with the Vermont Folkife Center, we have been able to put together a promo for Discovering Community, been on the Stories of Hope trip twice, am currently working with the Vermont Nepali Heritage Dance Group , as well as with the King Street Youth Center, producing videos for a Mock Election at Essex Middle School and professional development programs. I am looking forward to continuing my work with the staff at the Folklife Center and building a strong program that both students and professionals can collaborate on media projects.
Be sure to visit Myles's website to see his non-VFC work!: www.mylesdavidjewell.com