Alabama Community Scholars Institute, June 20-29, 2008

Have you ever strongly felt that something in your community should be recorded or photographed or filmed before it was gone forever? If so, you are the kind of person who would benefit from the Alabama Community Scholars Institute.

The Alabama Community Scholars Institute (ACSI) is a training program for people who want to research, document and present various aspects of Alabama’s traditional culture–the music, food, crafts, stories, celebrations, work traditions, etc., of their own communities. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The 2008 Alabama Community Scholars Institute will take place in Mobile starting after dinner on Friday June 20 and continuing through Sunday, June 29, after breakfast. This schedule means you will only have to miss one week of work.

Throughout the intensive 9-day program participants study

  • all aspects of doing fieldwork: recognizing traditions, conducting field surveys, interviewing and recording, photographing and videotaping tradition bearers and logging and transcribing interviews.
  • ways to present their findings in exhibits, films, CDs, articles, etc.
  • how folk traditions can be part of cultural tourism plans which may be of economic benefit to their communities.

Students come with a project concerning their own local culture in mind and throughout the Institute they learn how to make that project a success. To gain hands-on experience during the Institute, participants will research Mobile’s Mardi Gras and interview people involved in that traditional event. 

Who will benefit?

  • Staff and volunteers of local museums, community centers, arts councils and festivals
  • Professionals and volunteers involved with regional tourism
  • High school teachers who want to do oral history projects with their students
  • Individuals who are already documenting local traditions without the benefit of training

Sponsorship and Cost:  
Tuition, dorm rooms and meals are free to those who are selected for the program. There will be a $50 registration fee (payable upon acceptance into the Institute) and students pay for their own transportation to the USA campus and two or three off-campus meals.

Who may apply? When?
ACSI students are diverse in ethnicity and age. We prefer that students be at least 18 years of age and there is no upper age limit or required degree. Students must live in Alabama.  All applications must be in by April 1; however selections are made based on quality as well as the date of application, so the sooner one applies, the better.
For complete details about the Alabama Community Scholars Institute and how to apply, visit and click on ACSI or call Joyce Cauthen, 205-822-0505.

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