Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Field School: Participant-Observation on the Pike

The first week of the field school was exhilarating and exhausting.  The students spent most of the week learning the finer points of cultural documentation, focusing on interviewing techniques and working with field equipment.

Over the weekend students were instructed to complete their first foray into participant observation.  They set out of the Columbia Pike Farmer's Market, Bob and Edith's Diner, among other places.

Tiffany Kajer Wright explaining the field school project to Marie Flores
CPDP was invited to a family Memorial Day weekend cookout--the 46th Annual Flores-Gambino Picnic.  Three students, Tiffany Kajer-Wright, Jessica Brenchick, and Katie Kerstetter all attended the picnic and spend a productive afternoon meeting some long-time Columbia Pike residents.  The photos that follow are courtesy of Lloyd Wolf, lead photographer for the Columbia Pike Documentary Project.

Field School participants Tiffany Kajer Wright (left) and Jessica Brenchick (center)
talk to Joe Flores about CPDP and the work they will complete this summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bike the Pike

On Sunday May 22  I met with five students who have signed up for the Field School for Cultural Documentation--a collaboration between GMU and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  This was an optional bike tour of the Pike neighborhoods, led by the director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, Takis Karontonis.  The goal was to become familiar with the neighborhoods along the Columbia Pike and to get a feel for the history through an examination of the built environment.

We met at the farmer's market on the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive.  From there we biked toward the Pentagon to visit neighborhoods that have almost been swallowed up by roads and government installations, then headed west.  The students got a good feel for the different neighborhoods, and the distinctiveness of this community.    We finished about three hours after we started.  We were dehydrated and exhausted, but as a group I can say the students were very enthusiastic about the tour and the project.

Special thanks to Takis for taking time on Sunday to show us around.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Columbia Pike Documentary Project -Emmy nomination

This film, a production of Arlington County, documents the Columbia Pike Documentary Project.  It has received a regional nominated for an Emmy.  On Monday, a group of GMU students will begin training to span out and begin taking systematic oral histories of Pike residents.  This course, The Field school for Cultural Documentation,  is a collaborative between the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Folklore Studies Program at George Mason University