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Folklife Center captures voices of Irene flood survivors

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Posted on August 30, 2012 |
By Addison Independent



MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Folklife Center this week announced the completion of “Weathering the Storm,” a new audio documentary that explores the impact of Tropical Storm Irene on hard-hit communities throughout the state. “Weathering the Storm” features the voices of 40 Vermonters from 12 towns, addressing the experience of the storm and the continuing process of recovery.

On Aug. 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene hit the state of Vermont. Following the devastation caused by the storm and the resultant flooding, the Vermont Folklife Center worked to develop a response to the storm that would both address the needs of community members and create a record of their experiences for posterity. In September 2011 the center initiated the Irene Storytelling Project, which can be viewed online at www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/irene. “Weathering the Storm” emerged from one part of the Irene Storytelling Project — a series of community-organized, collective storytelling events called Story Circles (more information at www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/irene/updates/storycircles/).

Story Circles provided opportunities for community members to explore together their experiences of the storm, the damage it wrought, and the ongoing path to recovery. “Weathering the Storm” draws on the content and structure of Story Circles from around the state of Vermont with the goal of representing the Story Circle model in documentary format.

“Weathering the Storm” follows the flow of an actual Story Circle, highlighting the gripping personal accounts of participants and providing insight into the shared responses to the storm and the common experiences of those who worked to recover from it.

“A Story Circle brings a community together so that they can remember together,” says “Weathering the Storm” producer Aylie Baker, a Vermont Folklife Center 2011-2012 Fellow. “Story Circles foster the creation of a shared story, one made up of many different strands and perspectives knit together to form a complex whole — a collective, multifaceted memory of dramatic events.”

Jake Wildwood provided music for the documentary. David Cooper mastered the program.

“Weathering the Storm” can be streamed online at www.vermontfolklifecenter.org. 

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