Skip to main content

Folklife Documentaries Premiered at Bass Lecture Hall for 2016 Summer Institute

On Friday, July 22nd, Texas Folklife celebrated the productions of Austin- and Houston-based cultural workers with the Stories Summer Institute 2016 Listening Party. The event was the debut for 6 radio documentaries compiled by teachers and students under the guidance of Stories from Deep in the Heart, Texas Folklife’s award-winning documentary training program. The reception also featured traditional craftspeople and artisans from across Texas who were featured in the documentaries, which explored bladesmithing, bootmaking, cigar box guitars, luthiery, and accordion production. Also featured were the Weavers and Spinners Society of Austin and one of the city’s very own Mardi Gras Indians, a tradition brought from New Orleans in recent years.

“I couldn’t have been happier with this year’s stories,” said Project Director Brian Griffith. “We usually expect one or two stories to run into issues or fall through; that happens. But this year, everything came together, all of our pieces were strong, the artists were more than generous with their time and expertise, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of participants and producers.” 

The Stories Summer Institute is an intensive weeklong documentary workshop for Austin teachers and students, now in its eighth year. As the program has evolved, it has developed its own methodology and rich presentational style unique to Texas Folklife. It combines techniques from journalism, creative writing, anthropology, folklore, history, and media production, and focuses on cultural education and digital literacy. The Summer Institute is one of three main facets of the program: intensive summer workshops, semester-long education partnerships, and podcasting lessons offered throughout the year to the public.

The final documentaries can be heard on Texas Folklife’s Soundcloud at For more information about the Stories program, email us at 

This year’s Summer Institute was made possible with the generous support of KUT 90.5, Austin Independent School District, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The program is supported in part by grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts; the National Endowment from the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; the Shield-Ayres Foundation; the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and Department of Telecommunications & Regulatory Affairs Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOPS). Additional support was provided by Ruby’s BBQ, Maudie’s Tex-Mex, Home Slice Pizza, Taco Cabana, and Hoover’s Cooking.