The Commons Discussion Stage at the 2012 “Campus and Community” program. Discussions were scheduled on the 45 minutes, with participants from universities and the USDA exchanging ideas and thoughts about the themes of the program.
Photo by Josh Wellepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
Presenter Sandy Rikoon from University of Missouri leads a discussion with two participants from the University of Florida and one from Washington State University.
Photo by F.T. Eyre, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
Quilters from the Sisters of the Cloth group from Indiana participate in a “bed turning,” during which they show off their work and tell the story behind each quilt. Folklorist Jon Kay from Traditional Arts Indiana, based at Indiana University, has been conducting research with the quilters and other Indiana community members.
Photo by Samantha Sigmon, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
Presenter David Edelson from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities leads a discussion with participants from the University of Tennesse and UC Davis.
Photo by Joe Furgal, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
Long view of The Commons structure, which was repurposed from the 2009 Las Américas and 2010 México programs. The Festival aims to recycle on all levels! Photo by Jane Cave, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
A visitor poses a question of panelists led by presenter Wendy Fink from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Photo by Jane Cave, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
The physical shape and presentation format of The Commons stage were designed to encourage discussion among visitors and students, faculty, and staff from public and land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Focusing on these institutions’ traditions of research, learning, and community engagement, The Commons presented discussions on reinventing agriculture, building on traditions, sustainable solutions, transforming communities, lifelong learning, and the next 150 years. Visitors were able to engage with such experts as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Association of Public and Land-grant University President Peter McPherson, and Associate Dean of the University of California, Davis, Diana Ullman.
At The Commons visitors also heard lively presentations on such varied topics as a bed turning by the Sisters of the Cloth quilters from Indiana, discussions of campus traditions (do you know the significance of the Mississippi State University cowbell or Rainbow Warrior from the University of Hawai‘i?), and explanations of original artifacts from early agricultural pioneers housed at the Agricultural Research Service Library in Beltsville, Maryland.
The Center’s Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections recorded all sessions at The Commons; these recordings accessible to researchers and interested members of the public by appointment.