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Berea College Sound Archives Taking Applications for Fellowships

Wednesday, April 22, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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Berea College's Sound Archives Fellowships for 2015-2016 will be directed toward encouraging scholarly use of audio recordings collected in Eastern Kentucky largely by John and Alan Lomax under the auspices of the Library of Congress (1933-1942). A large portion of these recordings are being added to Hutchins Library's already extensive online traditional music collections in cooperation with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the Association for Cultural Equity.

Alan Lomax said that "for the first time America could hear itself" as a result of his and his father's efforts. For this benefit to endure he cautioned that "...folksongs should not be buried in libraries as they are in Washington and in universities over the country."

Work chosen for Fellowship support will generally contribute to a greater understanding of the cultural traditions documented and in particular, address the challenge of realizing Lomax's vision of the recordings' meaning and accessibility in the present day.

Lomax Collection Overview

Collecting activity spanned the years 1933 to 1942 and involved four different trips that included twelve Kentucky counties. Additional stops were made in the Northern Kentucky area to record soldiers at Fort Thomas and Kentuckians living in Ohio performing at Cincinnati's Ohio Valley Folk Festival.

Recordings in the Berea collection are particularly strong in documenting the singing and storytelling of Clay and Bell County labor union activists Aunt Molly Jackson, Sarah Ogan Gunning, Jim Garland and Tillman Cadle. Also included are Harlan County fiddler / singer "Blind" Jim Howard, singing and preaching in Bell County rural churches, Kentuckians living and working in Ohio such as Laurel County banjoist Pete Steele, and performers at the American Folk Song Festival in Boyd County such as fiddler Jilson Setters (J.W. Day.)


Fellowship research grants are in the amount of $4,000. Fellowships must be taken up between July 2015 and June 2016. All Fellowship supported research must be finished by June 30, 2016.

Deadline for proposals: The deadline for proposals is June 1, 2015.

How to Apply: There is no application form.

Applicants are asked to submit a proposal that includes:

1. Identifying and contact information, applicant's background and interest in the particular subject area.

2. A summary of the proposed project.

3. Project timeline - field work / residence period

4. Description of the anticipated use of Lomax Kentucky recordings and other Berea collections. Please discuss specific collection material and their relevance to the project.

5. Anticipated research outcomes and audiences (e.g., print publications, audio/video documentaries, exhibition, public event / performance, teaching, web-based resources).

6. Three letters of recommendation from colleagues familiar with the applicant's work and who are qualified to judge the proposal. Applicants are responsible for contacting all persons providing recommendations.

Proposals or inquiries should be sent to:

Harry Rice
Special Collections & Archives

Berea College

Berea, KY 40404

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