If you meet some people this weekend who are just a little more than curious about your life, the environment in Scioto County, and who might want to pick your brain a little, have no fear. It is most likely folks from the Center For Folklore Studies at the Ohio State University.
“We are an academic program at the university, and we’re a center, which is a little bit different from a department because we do our degree granting through a special department,” Cassie Patterson, director of Folklore Archives, said.
Patterson said the center has speakers, puts on symposiums and conferences at the university.
“We also have an archives, which is called the Folklore Archives and we have a number of different collections and our strongest area there is Original Ohio field work,” Patterson said.
That is where this weekend’s visit comes in. Patterson said coming to Portsmouth and Scioto County is field work which is meant to allow them to increase their profile which they are gathering throughout the state of Ohio.
“We’re going to be in Portsmouth. We’re going to be staying at the cottages at the Shawnee State Park Lodge,” Patterson said. “We’re going to be there from Sunday, March 12 through Sunday March 19.”
The center will be bringing eight students by bus and they will be interviewing a number of local residents about the way they create a sense of place in a changing environment.
“What we’re really looking at it is, what is the current narrative of Portsmouth and Scioto County and how are people shaping that narrative about place,” Patterson said.
Patterson said the group will be interviewing people like Kevin and Barb Bradbury, Charlie Haskins, Drew Carter, Jenny Richards, Ronnie Richards, folks who are living and making a living in the forest, as well as young people who are creating new businesses in the downtown and Boneyfiddle districts of Portsmouth. They will be interviewed where they are.
In addition they will be interviewing people who have businesses on the Esplanade, the operators of the comic book store and members of the African-American community.
“We are primarily gathering interviews and taking photographs,” Patterson said. “They’re all going to be audio interviews and we’re going to create a collection which will be housed at our archives as well as donated to the Portsmouth Public Library, the 14th Street Community Center, the (Shawnee) state park at to Andrew Feight at Shawnee State University”
Patterson said the idea is to create a snapshot of life in Portsmouth today.
“We’re also wanting to collaborate with our community partners to create some kind of public project or program that will be useful to residents,” Patterson said. “That could be a performance of some kind. It could be an art piece. It could be an exhibit or it could be a community activity.”
Patterson said, if anybody wants to talk to them, they can can contact Patterson at [email protected]
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.