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Skidmore College

Storytelling events

June 5, 2017

A weekend “Festosium” will again highlight the Storytellers’ Institute at Skidmore. Part of a summer MDOCS program, it will feature several free, public events.  

Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol
Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol image

This year’s Festosium explores “Space and Place” through film, sound, interactive media, museum curation, and star-gazing. Presenters include Storytellers' Institute fellows and visitors such as filmmaker Brett Story, archaeo-astronomer Tony Aveni from Colgate University, Albany Symphony Orchestra director David Alan Miller, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and artist-activist Laura Chipley of the Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol. 

image by Daesha Devon Harris
An image by a Saratoga-born docu-
mentarian of neighborhood change

According to Jordana Dym, a Skidmore history professor who directs MDOCS, understanding and communicating how spatial relationships operate is “a fundamental part of documentary work. Spaces matter: Anywhere that people live, work, play, worship, create, and connect shapes and provides context for our experiences. Through human activity these spaces become places, rich with memory and meaning.” Sarah Friedland, the new director of the institute, adds that it will also address “how race and class-based privilege grants access to space and place for some people and takes it away for others.”

Full information is here, but highlights include:


8:30 p.m., Tang Museum: Screening of Here After film of intimate, quirky stories about cemeteries and the act of memorializing, with a reception to follow on the Tang rooftop 


4 p.m., Zankel Music Center: Performance by the Albany Symphony of Water Music NY, honoring the Erie Canal and its historic communities, including discussion with the composer and the symphony director

7:30 p.m., Tang Museum: Discussion by a prominent archaeo-astronomer about this summer’s upcoming total solar eclipse and about stories of such phenomena from ancient Babylon to the Maya to Colonial America

8:30 p.m., Tang Museum: Informal conversation with co-creators of a virtual course called “Astronomy in Culture,” exploring celestial phenomena visible in the spring and summer skies

9:30 p.m., Tang Museum rooftop: Viewing and discussion, with telescopes provided, of key actors in the sky stories of many cultures


10 a.m., Case Center Gallery: Artists’ talks and tours of the web-based project The Future of Sunset Park: Through the Voices of Immigrant Stories about Latino and Asian workers in Brooklyn, and of the photography exhibition I’ve Got a Home about gentrification in Saratoga Springs

Sunset Park evictions project 
Mapping and documenting Sunset Park and its residents

12 noon, Gannett Auditorium: Drone-video and other documentation on behalf of environmental and social activism by the Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol in West Virginia coal country

San Fran evictions project
From the anti-eviction project

2:45 p.m., Gannett Auditorium: Discussion by filmmakers from the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project about the use of multimedia storytelling to amplify underrepresented voices in the San Francisco Bay area

8 p.m., Gannett Auditorium: Screening and discussion of The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, addressing the jobs and other community impacts of prisons

At any of these events, Friedland says, audience members will “have a window into the creative process and meet cutting-edge documentary makers." [full schedule] 

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