Rachel Hopkin

Folklorist and Radio Producer

Texas Folklife’s 2015 “Stories from Deep in the Heart” Summer Institute

12 July, 2015

I’ve just returned home after spending the past week as the Guest Instructor at Texas Folklife‘s 2015 “Stories from Deep in the Heart” Summer Institute.

This was my second time at the Institute. It’s a 5 day intensive (and free-of-charge) program of that offers teachers and high school students the chance to learn how to make folkloristic audio stories.  This year, the cohort formed five teams and each of them came up with a stellar production in double quick time.  The theme this year was Austin’s historic East Side, with a particular focus on its African American heritage and blues music. You can hear them all of the stories online here and they’re also available via PRX.


Texas Folklife 2015

Participants and staff from Texas Folklife’s 2015 “Stories from Deep in the Heart” Summer Institute

On Friday evening, the final listening party took place.  It ended with a great performance from Eddie Stout and the Evereadys along with singer Pamela Allen. Pamela and Eddie had both featured in the pieces produced over the course of the week and I think all of us in the audience found that being given the opportunity to learn a little about their backgrounds via the stories made their music EVEN more meaningful than it would have been otherwise.

Huge thanks to Texas Folklife for putting this all together and to every single person involved, including the project’s director – Charlie Lockwood, and the lead instructor – Marcelo Tesón.

Thanks also to my fellow folklorey/radio peeps who helped me gather thoughts about the nature of our work ahead of my participation as guest instructor for the first time last year – Erika Brady, Hal Cannon, Nick Spitzer, and Taki Telonidis.