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Local Teachers, Administrators, and Students to Create Audio Stories in Intensive Weeklong Workshop 

Stories will be Shared in a Free, Public Presentation on July 10
 at George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center Boyd Vance Theater



Austin, Texas – June 22, 2015 – Texas Folklife is pleased to announce the “Stories from Deep in the Heart” 2015 Summer Institute will be held July 6-10 in Austin, led by folklorist and radio producer Rachel Hopkin. High school and middle school teachers, administrators, as well as high school students from Austin ISD and surrounding school districts were selected to be this year’s Institute fellows. Teacher/administrator participants and students enrolled in Title 1 schools will be awarded a stipend to attend the 5-day intensive workshop in audio documentary production. Made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Folklife program offers workshops to teachers and students throughout the year to document their family and community traditions. Participants have a rare opportunity to learn from some of the best producers, journalists and cultural workers in the nation.

This year Texas Folklife is partnering with The City of Austin George Washington Carver Museum and the Eastside Kings Blues Festival to document the stories of East Austin-African American blues musicians, highlight the historical importance of East Austin blues, and celebrate the living blues traditions still thriving in Austin.  During past summers, “Stories from Deep in the Heart” has produced compelling stories from students at McCallum, Akins, LBJ, Austin, Travis, and Eastside Memorial High Schools as well as Martin, Kealing, Gorzycki, and O’Henry Middle Schools. The audio pieces feature a range of stories from Bharata Natyam classical Indian dance to an intimate look at devotion of La Santa Muerte, a new folk tradition imported from Mexico to Texas, to the story of a family band of female conjunto accordion players. These stories have already attracted national interest through the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) radio distribution channel and have aired nationally on NPR’s Latino USA and PRX Remix, and locally on KUT 90.5FM, Austin’s NPR affiliate.


Folklorist and NPR and BBC radio producer Rachel Hopkin is the special guest instructor again this year. After working with the BBC, creating radio documentaries about music from around the UK, she became an independent radio producer and folklorist. Among her many accomplishments, Hopkin has documented multiple oral history projects in historic communities across the American South, created a radio series for local Kentucky NPR, and was awarded the 2012 Sally Kress Tompkins fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historical American Buildings Survey to document buildings in Nashville. From 2012 to 2014 she served as Program Coordinator for Nevada Humanitiesand is now pursuing a PhD in Folklore from Ohio State University. Ms. Hopkin will present a sampling of her work as well as completed audio documentaries produced at the Summer Institute by this year’s fellows at the Public Reception and Listening Party on Friday July 10 at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center Boyd Vance Theater.  The program begins at 6:00pm with a reception that will include refreshments courtesy of Hoover’s Cooking.


“Our mission at Texas Folklife is to preserve and present the diverse cultures of Texas,” says Cristina Balli, Executive Director of Texas Folklife. "The Stories Summer Institute allows us to dig deeply into the local communities’ heritage by helping students and teachers tell the meaningful stories found in their families. By introducing the art of audio documentary into the mix we bring storytelling into the 21st century and in doing so are able to share the cultural heritage of our neighbors with the larger community as well as generate artistic enthusiasm in the younger generation."


The 5-day workshop will be held at the AISD Science and Health Resource Center at 305 N. Bluff Dr. in Austin. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, July 6-10. The final day of the training, Friday, from 8:30-5:30, will be used for audio production. The Public Reception and Listening Party will be held Friday, July 10, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center Boyd Vance Theater, located at 1165 Angelina St, Austin, TX 78702.

“Stories from Deep in the Heart” is supported in part through grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; the Shield-Ayres Foundation; Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and Department of Telecommunications & Regulatory Affairs Grant for Technology Opportunities; and generous support from the Austin Independent School District and KUT News 90.5FM.


For more information, visit To listen to some of the stories produced in previous Summer Institutes, visit




About Texas Folklife

Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. For 30 years, Texas Folklife has honored the authentic cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.

1708 Houston St

Austin, Texas 78756

(512) 441-9255

(844) 386-2091



For more information, please contact Texas Folklife Programs & Development Director, Charlie Lockwood


Media information: Sheree Scarborough / (512) 922-5483