"Placemaking in Scioto County, Ohio” explores how residents of Scioto County create a sense of place in a changing environment by engaging everyday cultural practices that respond to and transform their communities.
This exhibit is a collaboration between The Center for Folklore Studies at Ohio State University, Shawnee State University, and community partners throughout Scioto County, including Barbara and Kevin Bradbury (Hurricane Run Farm), Andrew Carter (World Sound Entertainment, 14th Street Community Center and Watch Me Grow), Dr. Andrew Feight (Professor of History, Shawnee State University), Dr. Janet Feight (Professor of English, Shawnee State University), Charlie Haskins (Haskins House), Jody and Martin McAllister (Friends of Scioto Brush Creek), Jenny Richards (Shawnee State Park), and Treva Williams (OSU Extension-Scioto County).
About the Ohio Field Schools
The Center for Folklore Studies, as part of its mission to coordinate and support folklore and cultural documentation throughout the state of Ohio, is conducting an ongoing research project focusing on Ohio communities’ responses to economic, environmental and cultural change through their everyday practices and expressive culture. Our primary focus is on Scioto and Perry Counties in Appalachian Ohio. Since summer of 2016, CFS faculty and staff have been building relationships with core community partners in both counties and developing archival projects that support, document, and preserve local culture.
Ohio State students assist in this project by documenting spaces of sociality, such as comic book shops, used record stores, local diners, state parks, community centers, farmers markets, etc. They interview farmers, forest workers, business owners, community leaders, young entrepreneurs, trappers, hunters, gardeners and others who have storied the lands they occupy in various ways. In the process, students consider the relations between city dwellers and rural groups, between old-timers and in-migrators, between diverse groups of residents. They discover the various ways in which these groups articulate their vision for a local future. Through reflection and discussion, students contribute to the research project’s developing conceptualization of “local culture,” “community revitalization” and “diverse environmentalisms.” All student work is coded and deposited in the Ohio State University Folklore Archives.
Folklore and Placemaking
When you hear the word “folklore,” you may think of a tale, a traditional song, or some aspect of culture that seems premodern. You might imagine a belief or practice that people may or may not think is “true,” like a superstition. Folklore (as defined by folklorists) includes all of these things – and so much more. Folklorists also study things like “quilts, Boy Scout badges, high school marching band initiations, jokes, chain letters, nicknames, holiday food . . . and many other things you might not expect” (Sims and Stephens, 2005). They study internet memes and new slang words. According the American Folklore Society website, folklore is what people believe, do, know, make, and say in ways that reflect and create aspects of their identity (“What is Folklore?”). That identity can be deeply rooted in the past or it may be something that is adapted to new circumstances.
Place and placemaking are crucial to folklore studies because the places we live and the spaces we share shape everyday life in fundamental ways. These places are constantly undergoing processes of change. The ways that everyday people creatively respond to these changes – when they gather together, share skills across generations, respond to community needs, and launch conservation efforts – is what folklorists call folklife, and the Placemaking in Scioto County, Ohio exhibit seeks to spark community conversations about these processes.
Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our community partners in Scioto County!
Dr. Barbara Bradbury and Kevin Bradbury, Hurricane Run Farm Andrew Carter, World Sound Entertainment and Watch Me Grow Andrew Feight, Professor of History, Shawnee State University Janet Feight, Professor of English, Shawnee State University Charlie Haskins, Artist and owner of Haskins House Jody and Martin McAllister, Friends of Scioto Brush Creek Jenny Richards, Naturalist, Shawnee State Park Treva Williams, OSU Extension-Scioto County
OSU Advisory Committee
Dr. Cristina Benedetti, Instructional Specialist and Public Folklorist, Ohio State University Sue Eleuterio, Independent Public Folklorist Sophia Enriquez, PhD Student, Ethnomusicology, Ohio State University Sarah Craycraft, PhD Student, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University Jordan Lovejoy, PhD Student, English, Ohio State University Afsane Rezaei, PhD Candidate, English, Ohio State University Madeleine Smith, PhD Student, English, Ohio State University
OSU IRB Protocol #2017B0005
The Ohio Field School initiative is sponsored by a generous gift from the Columbus Foundation.