Traditions in Dialogue

Poster featuring a young woman with a reindeer next to a description of the lecture and workshop series.We’re proud to be a part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for the Humanities Borghesi-Mellon Workshop. The Workshops allow students, faculty, and community members to come together to examine a wide range of questions that matter—questions that help us understand the world around us and our own place in that world. As part of our ongoing project to sustain Scandinavian folk arts in the Upper Midwest, we’ve put together a series of lectures and how-to workshops titled Traditions in Dialogue: Nordic-American Communities and their Arts in Local and Transnational Contexts. These lectures and workshops examine the significant impact that private collections and archives can have on the community-at-large. Lectures will focus on how individual collectors contribute to our collective understanding of the region and the revitalization of cultural traditions, while workshops will share tips and best practices for documenting and archiving your private and/or community collections.

We hope you’ll be able to join us for the lectures and workshops:

September 12 in Memorial Library 126 from 5:30–6:30pm with Jim Leary
Remembering Bob Andresen: A Praise Song for a Proto-Archivist
Descended from Norwegian immigrants, Bob Andresen (1937-1995) was a graphic designer, musician, radio producer, record collector, and self-taught folklorist from Duluth, Minnesota. His substantial documentary collections–historic sound recordings, ephemeral publications, rare images–encompass the Upper Midwest’s musical ferment, sustain the development of regional/traditional/ethnic collections at UW’s Mills Music Library, and persist as a resource for researchers and musicians.

September 19 in Memorial Library 126 from 5:30–6:30pm with Troy Reeves
Recording Your Own Story
Ever wondered how best to gather and preserve someone’s story? UW-Madison’s Oral History Program Head Troy Reeves will furnish his experienced thoughts and ideas about it in his workshop.

October 3 in Memorial Library 126 from 5:30–6:30pm with Jeanette Casey
From Disc to Digital
Sharing a private collection with the world How does fabulous material make the journey from collector to institution to community? Join Mills Music Library staff as they share their travails taking the largest private collection of Yiddish 78rpm recordings into a freely accessible digital collection.

October 24 in Memorial Library 126 from 5:30–6:30pm with Nathan Gibson
Creating a Personal Archive
Nathan D. Gibson, Ethnic American Music Curator at the University of Wisconsin, will speak from his personal experience as a collector, researcher, and curator in his workshop Collecting, Hoarding, and Sorting: Creating Personal Archives. Whether you have inherited someone else’s massive collection or you are in the process of building your own collection of important materials, the question still remains: What to do with all of the stuff? How does one begin to manage collections and create archives? Further, how can it be done independently and on a budget? Using examples from his previous work at the Archives of Traditional Music (Indiana University) and now at the Mills Music Library (University of Wisconsin), Gibson will present attendees with basic building blocks for successfully making sense of the chaos–managing their own collections and creating personal archives.

November 7 in DesignLab Media Studio A from 5:30–6:30pm with the DesignLab
Presenting Your Own Story
What makes digital storytelling unique? Learn the basics of good storytelling and how those basics apply in different digital media. UW DesignLab consultant Colin Gioia Connors will be exploring potentials, discussing concerns, and showcasing examples for effective digital communication.

November 14 in Memorial Library 126 from 5:30–6:30pm with Joe Salmons, Mirva Johnson, and David Natvig
Language as History: Nordic Sound Recordings from the Upper Midwest
We want and need to understand our past, and languages are a central part of history in the Upper Midwest. Using sound recordings made since the 1930s in the Nordic languages, we will talk about how our understanding of language history has been revolutionized because of these recordings and explore what they can tell us not only about the languages but about the social and cultural contexts in which they were spoken.