What’s it like to work on a podcasts? Why are podcasts so popular in the twenty-first century? We talk about this stuff and more in the season finale of Public Work! This week’s episode begins with a conversation between Amelia and Jim on the secret origins of Public Work, the ubiquity of podcasts, and what they’ve learned from working on this project. Then Jim talks toLiza Yeager, an audio producer and storyteller (and a Brown University alum!) who has worked on a range of podcasts, radio programs, and other cool projects. Liza talks about what led her to co-found Now Here This (a student-led audio storytelling project) at Brown, tells us what she’s learned about radio and podcasts from her work with NPR’s Story Lab, Jacobin’sThe Dig podcast, and other projects, and describes what she cares about when producing, telling, and hearing audio-centric forms of storytelling.
Public Work is produced and hosted by Amelia Golcheski and Jim McGrath This is the last episode of Public Work with this team, as Amelia has recently graduated. Congrats Amelia! Stay tuned to @PublicWorkPod and @publichumans on Twitter to learn what podcast projects are on the horizon at Brown’s Center for Public Humanities!
Liza Yeager is an audio producer mostly based in Providence, RI. She has worked on a range of podcast, radio, and audio storytelling projects, including NPR’s Story Lab (where she was their first intern), Jacobin Magazine’s The Dig podcast, and State of Wonder, an arts and culture show with Oregon Public Broadcasting. As an undergraduate at Brown, she was a co-founder of Now Here This, a platform for student-produced audio stories. You can learn more about Liza at her web site.
How can music call attention to America’s traumatic past and reveal what we can learn from these histories in the present? This week we talk to Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, the musicians and scholars behind No-No Boy. The No-No Boy project tells stories about the Asian American experience through folk music, highlighting histories of Japanese Incarceration camp survivors, what life was like during the Vietnam War, and many other experiences. Juilan and Erin talk about where the idea for this project came from, discuss the research and traveling they’ve done to learn more about these histories, and play some of their amazing songs. We hope you enjoy this special musical episode of Public Work!
From 2004-2010, Julian Saporiti fronted the Berklee trained indie-rock group The Young Republic. After releasing several well received albums and touring extensively around North America and Europe, Saporiti relocated to Laramie, Wyoming to pursue an MA in American Studies, where upon completion, he took a job lecturing at the University. While living out west, Julian made several trips to the remains of the Heart Mountain concentration camp in northwest Wyoming where, during WW2, the US government unconstitutionally incarcerated over 10,000 people of Japanese descent, most of whom were US citizens. These trips made a profound impact and inspired Saporiti to begin interviewing camp survivors and researching the music performed in the camps. From these interviews, and thinking about his own displaced family of Vietnamese refugees, he began writing No-No Boy. He is currently living in Providence, Rhode Island, continuing this research, composing and recording music, and pursuing a PhD at Brown University where he also directs the Brown Arts Initiative Songwriters Workshop and teaches a course expanding the No-No Boy project.
Erin Aoyama is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the American Studies department at Brown University. Her involvement with the No-No Boy Project began when she and Saporiti met in August of 2017 as participants on the Brown Japanese American Incarceration Mobile Workshop. Her research focuses on the interplay between Japanese American incarceration and the experiences of African Americans in the Jim Crow South – focusing on the two World War II concentration camps in Arkansas and the segregated American military. Aoyama’s work with the No-No Boy Project is also deeply personal. She is a legacy of Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming, where her grandmother was incarcerated during the war, and her involvement with the No-No Boy Project has been a powerful way to connect with her family’s history, using art and storytelling.
What happened to Providence’s Chinatown? In this week’s episode we talk to Angela Yuanyuan Feng and Julieanne Fontana, two Master’s Students in Public Humanities at Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage who have created an exhibit and walking tour in downtown Providence to consider this question. Angela and Julieanne discuss their work with community partners, scholars, and archivists to recover this history, and they talk about the various circumstances that led to the creation of Providence’s Chinatown and its decline. Then we’re joined by Diane O’Donoghue, Director of the Program for Public Humanities at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, to learn more about how Diane’s work on Boston’s Chinatown and its public library influenced the project on Providence’s Chinatown.
Angela Yuanyuan Feng is a third-year student in the American Studies PhD program at Brown University with a specialization in Asian American Studies: she is also working towards her certificate in Public Humanities. Her research interests include Asian American community, politics and culture, Asian American literature, and Chinese Diaspora in the Americas.
Julieanne Fontana is a second-year student in the Public Humanities Master’s program at Brown University with a focus on place-based community histories. She has background as a researcher, curator, educator, and project manager with the National Park Service and history museums.
Diane O’Donoghue is the director of the Program for Public Humanities and Senior Fellow for the Humanities at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. An art historian, her areas of specialization include the visual culture of early China, about which she authored a monograph on reflection as object and idea in the Bronze Age. From these art historical and archaeological interests came scholarship on issues of the representation of surface and depth, and memory and memorialization, work informed by visual and cultural studies, gender and postcolonial critiques, and the practice and theories of psychoanalysis. “These Words,” an exhibition project created in 2016 with the Chinese Historical Society of New England, circled back to research with Chinese archival sources in the service of both public history and advocacy. In the spring semester 2017, she was adjunct professor of Public Humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center of Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University.
Every museum has its own unique soundtrack. This week on Public Work, Ruby Thiagarajan, a first-year Master’s Student in Public Humanities at Brown University, talks to John Kannenberg, a multimedia artist and the Director and Chief Curator of The Museum of Portable Sound. Ruby and John discuss why John decide to create a museum that’s the size of a cell phone, what it’s like to curate sound, and what we might learn from the sounds of museums.
Ruby Thiagarajan is a first year MA student in Public Humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. She is interested in contemporary museology practices and in thinking about how cultural institutions can do better by their audiences.
John Kannenberg is a multimedia artist, experimental curator, writer, and researcher whose work investigates sounds as cultural objects, the frontiers and borders of digital heritage, the multisensory geography of museums, the psychology of collection, and the human experience of time. His art practice emphasises process, creating and breaking rules for the work’s realisation in ways that blur the boundaries between intention and accident. In his current role as Director and Chief Curator of The Museum of Portable Sound, John has founded an institution that exists on a solitary mobile phone to research the collection, curation, and display of sound as a museological object while critiquing conventional museum practices and music industry-imposed limitations on the digital distribution of sound.
What is moonhaus? Find out in our conversation with Rica Maestas and Julia Renaud, the hosts behind a recent installation and event series that invited attendees to explore ideas of astrology and witch culture. Rica and Julia talk about what moonhaus borrows from theater and installation art, what kind of work goes into creating meaningful interactions and adopting feminist methodologies when designing events, and what astrology might teach us in the twenty-first century.
Rica Maestas is po-mo burqueña, artist, author, and host / curator with a soft spot for dogs and inappropriately placed religious iconography. She is currently finishing her MA in Public Humanities, working at the David Winton Bell Gallery, and ruminating on art museum gift shops.
Julia Renaud is a Masters student in Brown’s Public Humanities program and co-host / curator of moonhaus. With a background in American history, theater, and archival work, Julia is deeply interested in practices of centering culturally marginalized narratives in ways that engage with and create inclusive communities. She would also like to learn more about past life regressions.
moonhaus would like to thank the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage and the Brown Arts Initiative for their generous support.
What is Bad Art? Where do our ideas about aesthetics come from and how do those ideas change over time? Have you ever taken a still life class where the model was a dog? What does Enya have to do with all of this? Find out in our conversation with Maggie Unverzagt Goddard and Mika Matsuno, the Brown University students behind a recent crowdsourced exhibition on Bad Art.
Maggie Unverzagt Goddard is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Brown. She received an MA in Public Humanities from Brown and an MA in American Studies from the George Washington University. Her research engages visual culture and performance studies through a focus on objects, aesthetics, and the body.
Mika Matsuno is an undergraduate senior at Brown studying History and Sociology. She enjoys most the tactile experience of art making and gravitates most towards collage, printmaking, and fabric arts.
What role does folklore play in modern life? What is folklore, anyway? In this episode, Amelia Golcheski interviews West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard to learn why folklore is more than just myths and legends. It can also be about labor movements, local histories, and even the “right” way to eat a hot dog. Amelia and Emily also discuss the recent teachers’ strike in West Virginia, misconceptions about life in so-called “Trump Country,” and approaches to public humanities that are invested in showing the importance of regional history.
Emily Hilliard is the West Virginia state folklorist and founder of the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council. She holds a B.A. in English and French from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in folklore from the University of North Carolina. Find more of her work at emilyehilliard.com.
How are artists and performers finding creative uses for archival materials? On our latest episode we’re joined by Kate Duffy, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Brown who is also one of the creators of The Phantom Archive. Kate describes her interest in creating dreamlike spaces around archival materials, explains what she’s learned from nineteenth-century forms of entertainment like panoramas and magic shows, and introduces us to Mr. Crowley and Nancy Luce.
Kate Duffy is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Brown University. Her focus is nineteenth-century American culture and the history of science. Right now she is working on a dissertation about phrenology. She also works in the world of museums and historic sites, most recently serving as a curatorial research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. More information is on her web site at www.kateduffy.net.
Learn all about museums in Shanghai from our latest episode, which features a conversation between Public Humanities graduate student Zhuohan (Bella) Jiang and Susan Smulyan, Director of Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Zhuohan and Susan discuss why they think museums are particularly popular destinations for the city’s younger populations, how the cultural and economic factors of Shanghai and China are shaping the kinds of museums opening there, and what the uses of WeChat might tell us about visitor engagement here and in other global contexts.
Zhuohan (Bella) Jiang is a first-year Master’s student in Public Humanities at Brown University. She studied culture industry management at Tongji University in Shanghai.Developing much of her museum practice in Shanghai, she wishes to engage in a dialogue that supports innovation, global conversation, and public engagement in arts institutions.
Susan Smulyan is a Professor in the Department of American Studies at Brown University and the Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. She is the author of Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting and Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century, and co-editor of Major Problems in American Popular Culture. Most recently she was a Senior Fellow at Fudan University, Shanghai, where she was researching the new museums being built in China.
Hannah Mooney and Molly Pailet stopped by Public Work to talk about “Monument Worthy,” an exhibition they curated on the topic of “personal memory markers.” Hear Hannah and Molly talk with Jim and Amelia about the monuments and debates informing their work, the forms of monuments to personal memory that were revealed in their exhibition, and the ways we remember, erase, and interrogate history through our relationships to material objects large and small.
Hannah Mooney is a first year in the Public Humanities Master’s Program, who is interested in public history, museum education, and historic preservation. Aside from Public Work, her favorite podcast is 2 Dope Queens. For tweets related to museums and history, or more likely dogs, you can follow her @hannahemooney.
Molly Pailet is a first-year student in the MA Public Humanities Program. She is passionate about applied history, non-traditional education, and creating opportunities for engagement and connection. Her favorite podcast is The Mortified Guide, because she too has a very embarrassing collection of journals that the historian in her can’t bear to get rid of…primary source documents! Check her out on Twitter @akimboflamingo.