Episode 11: Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama on Folk Music, Asian American History, and No-No Boy

No-No Boy

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

The music introducing this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International). All other music is performed by No-No Boy.

Episode 10: Angela Yuanyuan Feng, Julieanne Fontana, and Diane O’Donoghue on Providence’s Chinatown

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.

Julieanne Fontana and Angela Yuanyuan Feng
Julieanne Fontana (left) and Angela Yuanyuan Feng (right)

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

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

Show Notes

Providence’s Chinatown

“These Words: A Century of Printing, Writing, and Reading in Boston’s Chinatown Community”

Chinese Historical Society of New England

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 09: John Kannenberg on The Museum of Portable Sound

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 Thiagarajaran

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

 

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 08: Rica Maestas and Julia Renaud on moonhaus

moonhaus

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.

This episode is part of our series on the creators behind Gallery Lab, an exciting collection of pop-up exhibitions, performances, and other programming hosted by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage (Brown University).

Rica Maestas

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

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

Show Notes

Cafe Astrology

Chani Nicholas

Horoscopes by The Astrotwins

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 07: Maggie Unverzagt Goddard and Mika Matsuno on BAD ART

BAD ART

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.

This episode is part of our series on the creators behind Gallery Lab, an exciting collection of pop-up exhibitions, performances, and other programming hosted by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage (Brown University).

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard

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
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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 06: Emily Hilliard on Folklore, West Virginia, and Documenting Contemporary Labor Movements

Emily Hilliard
Emily Hilliard

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 05: Kate Duffy on Phantom Archives

Portrait of Nancy Luce. Photograph by Joseph W. Warren.
Portrait of Nancy Luce. Photograph by Joseph W. Warren. Original copy found in the Boston Public Library’s Collections.

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.

This episode is part of our series on the creators behind Gallery Lab, an exciting collection of pop-up exhibitions, performances, and other programming hosted by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage (Brown University).

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

Show Notes

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

Episode 04: Zhuohan Jiang and Susan Smulyan on Museums and Shanghai

Susan Smulyan and Zhuohan (Bella) Jiang

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

Show Notes

“Why Shanghai, China is the Place to be for Contemporary Art” (Jiayang Fan)

“Alternative to Museums: Public and Independent Art Spaces in Shanghai” (Julie Chun; Yishu Vol. 15.6, 2016)

Shanghai K11

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)

Episode 03: Hannah Mooney and Molly Pailet on Monuments and Memory

Hannah Mooney and Molly Pailet

This episode kicks off a series focusing on Gallery Lab, an exciting initiative here at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage that invites graduate students and their collaborators to curate, perform, and organize an exciting array of exhibitions, events, and activities. You can read more about Gallery Lab in the Brown Daily Herald and check out the full calendar of events here.

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.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

Show Notes

Learn more about Itaru Sasaki’s phone booth (mentioned by Molly) at This American Life and CityLab.

New Orleans Mayor Rich Landrieu’s speech on the removal of Confederate monuments (mentioned by Hannah) can be found online: here is a transcript and here is video.

When asked for reading recommendations on monuments and memory, Molly and Hannah mention Erika Doss’ Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (2010) and Dell Upton’s What Can and Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South (2015).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)

 

Episode 02: Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko on Small Museums

This episode gets into the nitty gritty of the museum world. After Jim and Amelia briefly chat about recent trips to small museums, first year public humanities student Maddie Mott interviews Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President/CEO of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine. Cinnamon shares her career trajectory, offers advice for folks wanting to get into the field, and talks about running a small museum. Their conversation also touches on one of the most important topics in the field right now: “decolonizing the museum.” Learn more about the Abbe Museum on their website.

Maddie Mott

Maddie Mott is a graduate student studying Public Humanities at Brown University. Before she came to Brown, she worked in development at the Clackamas County Historical Society and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. She is interested in studying new ways to make museums more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable, both internally and externally.

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko joined the Abbe Museum as President/CEO in 2009. Prior to that point, Cinnamon was the director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana where she led the organization to the National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. A passionate advocate for museums – their successes and their needs – and small museum expert, Cinnamon holds a BA in Anthropology and Art History from Purdue University, and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) MA program in Anthropology with a specialization in Museum Studies.

In 2004, the Indiana Historical Society published Cinnamon’s first book The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection. She is the co-editor of the Small Museum Toolkit, a six book series, published by Altamira Press in 2012. In addition to editing, she authored the chapters on strategic planning and fundraising tactics. She is currently revising the second edition of the popular textbook Museum Administration.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the Soundcloud embed below (or over on our Soundcloud page).

Show Notes

In the intro to this week’s episode, Amelia discussed a recent trip to the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, Virginia. Jim talked about his visit to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and its exhibit on Kris Kristofferson.

Among other topics, Catlin and Maddie’s conversation makes reference to the Small Museum Association, NAGPRA, and Amy Lonetree’s Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums (2012).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)

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