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Texas Folklife Announces "Stories from Deep in the Heart" 2015 Summer Institute and Reception


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

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

Austin, Texas – March 2, 2015 – Texas Folklife is pleased to announce the “Stories from Deep in the Heart” 2015 Summer Institute will be held July 6-10. The Summer Institute is an intensive, weeklong workshop in audio documentary for teachers, administrators, and students in the Austin Independent School District and Central Texas area. Participants will be trained in audio documentary production by professional producers, journalists, and cultural workers, and will complete one audio story in a group setting on themes related to family and community traditions. Finished projects may be among those selected for broadcast on KUT News 90.5, other NPR affiliates via Public Radio Exchange, and other outlets.

All public high school students are eligible to apply, as well as teachers and administrators at the middle and high school level. The cost of the workshop is free, but participants must apply for a fellowship. Applications are available on Texas Folklife’s website: All adult participants are expected to become Texas Folklife members at the $25 artist/educator rate. Stipends are available to AISD teachers and students enrolled in Title 1 schools. Ten teachers/administrators and five students will be selected by application. 

Breakfast and lunch will be served daily to participants at no charge. Participating teachers will receive a "Stories" resource package and will have an opportunity to explore ways to implement this program in their classrooms through TEKS correlated objectives. Texas Folklife staff and professional producers will work with select teachers to implement the intensive program in their own classrooms the following school year.

The 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-Thursday, July 6-9. 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 6:00-9:00pm at the George Washington Carver Center Museum & Cultural Center. 

Folklorist and NPR and BBC radio producer Rachel Hopkin will be 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 Humanities, and 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.

“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."

“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; the Still Water Foundation; Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division; and KUT News 90.5.

For more information, visit To listen to some of the stories produced in pervious 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.

1317 S. Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78704

T (512) 441-9255

F (512) 441-9222


Stories from Deep in the Heart Summer Institute Project Director: Marcelo Teson / (512) 588-3766


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