Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.


Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Just a Slice of the Pie

Transcribing, Content Logs, and Themes


     Following the interviews we have been busy transcribing and exploring the information from our interviews! The first step was transcribing the interviews. This involves listening to the interviews very carefully and typing out every word the interviewee and interviewer speaks. For this process we have special protocols which govern how we write and spell what we hear so that it is clearly understood and recorded correctly.

      From the interview transcripts the students created content logs which serve to categorize all the "main idea words" from the audio. Students learned that the process of making content logs is tedious but extremely important for the future preservation on the interviews. Essentially anyone around the world could find our interviews online if the topics they are looking for are listed in our content logs!
Dr. Wagner illustrates a lesson on themes
     The next step after content logs was to brainstorm themes. Our themes are what we will run with once we start the work on our movies. A theme is a statement or assertion. It says in the RWW Project Manual that "a theme for a movie is like a thesis statement for a paper". Once we find and hone in on our themes we will begin the process of movie making!

Students and mentors brainstorm themes in their groups
  As Catherine Pauley illustrated, the interviews are like our favorite pie and our movies will be like eating one delicious peice of that whole pie. The process is exciting now as we are deciding which piece we will go after!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview day a success ! 

Marking our 11th Year of Oral History Interviews 


Interview day was long anticipated, and when March 23 finally arrived, spirits were high.  Students and mentors alike were excited for the interviews.  The venue for the interviews, as in past years, was the Hotel Floyd. Their generous donation of space and time was greatly appreciated and vital to the success of our interviews. The set-stagers and mentors worked together to create the perfect background for the interviews. A big map of Floyd County as a centerpiece, served well to remind us of our Roots.

Each student had their job in preparing for the interviews and throughout the process of conducting them. It was exciting to see the high school students take responsibility for their jobs and strive to do them well. It was a learning process as always but mistakes truly serve to make us better. We overcame a few glitches and made the best out of them in true Roots with Wings fashion. We are constantly testing and putting into practice our technological Wings

It was such an honor to hear the stories of the interviewees. Everyone was a student on interview day, learning of the past and particular experiences of the interviewees. 

A small preview of our project will reveal that we had some different questions about community and neighborhood. We were curious to know what the interviewees thought about these ideas and how they have experienced them personally throughout their lives. 

We also made sure to ask the interviewees what advice they would give to young people these days and their answers were varied, wise, funny and practical.   Now that we have gotten the interviews under our belts, the careful work of transcribing and archiving is about to begin!






A big thank you goes out to the interviewees: Dale Belcher, Frank Hancock, Frances Poff and Sherrell Poff, we truly could not have done it without you! Also, thank you to The Hotel Floyd for the space, and The Old Church Gallery and Floyd County High School for the equipment!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Aquaintances

A Meet and Greet Day

For the first time ever, the Roots With Wings Project hosted a Meet and Greet day for the students and interviewees to get acquainted. This quite literally put faces and stories to the names and biographies of our interviewees. 

Frank Hancock shows where he lives in Floyd County
Each of our 2017 interviewees were seated with a large map of Floyd County with students gathered around. The interviewees indicated the place they are from in the county, and the students responded about their own neighborhoods.  It surprised some students to find that they were neighbors with the interviewees or knew something of each other's families.

Each interviewee brought a few photographs and artifacts with them to help to tell a little bit about themselves. 
Getting to know you smiles

These artifacts included a split oak egg-carrying basket, a shop-worn cherry pitter, photographs of a home-made rock crusher, a string for making finger patterns such as "Jacob's Ladder," and a large collection of beautiful hand-turned wooden pieces.

It was wonderful to get to know the interviewees a little bit and a great ice breaker for our interviews which we'll be conducting next Thursday.  Our work today succeeded in getting students, mentors, and interviewees ever more excited about the upcoming week! 


Students listen to the interviewees tell a little about themselves
Blogpost: Cara Myrtle

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 Appalachian Studies Conference

Roots with Wings Project Presentation


Our ongoing Roots with Wings Floyd County Oral History Project (2007-2017) was represented well at the 2017 Appalachian Studies Conference, Virginia Tech, March 9th.  We presented a 75 minute session to a full room, showed a student movie, slide show, and promo film, took questions, and each of us spoke at length on our individual partnership roles. 

Session 3.13 
Roundtable | Education | Digital Humanities 
Extreme Community: Floyd County, Virginia, Elders and Youth Keeping Stories in a Digital Age 
A discussion of a ten-year partnership among the Floyd Story Center, Radford University, and Floyd County High School and a sampling of its products. “Roots with Wings” documents interviews, creates original short movies, and seeks Internet publication. 
Convener: Melinda B. Wagner, Radford University 
Mary Dickerson, Check Elementary
Meghan Moore-Hubbard, Floyd County High School 
Casey Worley, Floyd County High School
Kathleen Ingoldsby, Floyd Story Center