History Major Completes Student Apprenticeship with the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project

Student Apprenticeship Mini-Grant recipient and History Major Olivia Langa ?22 working on the Ber...

Olivia Langa has spent two semesters as a research assistant for Dr. Michael J. Kramer’s NEH-funded Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project, a digital public history project documenting a folk music festival that took place at the University of California from 1958 to 1970.

Researching and curating digitized archival photographs and other documents, completing reports on the development of digital lesson plans and an audio podcast, and other tasks, history major Olivia Langa has made use of a Student Apprenticeship Mini-Grant (SAMG) from the SUNY Brockport Scholar and Grants Development Office to make vital contributions to the NEH-funded Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project, a digital public history project directed by Department of History Assistant Professor Dr. Michael J. Kramer that documents a folk music festival which took place on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1958 to 1970.

In both spring and fall semesters of 2021, Olivia used the SAMG to develop her skills of digital and historical research, editing, and communication. These are widely applicable and useful to whatever career Olivia chooses to pursue, and evidence of the power of studying history and pursuing an undergraduate liberal arts and sciences education at Brockport. Olivia plans to continue to develop her experiences of bringing together history and digital technology through a spring 2022 internship with SUNY Brockport Department of History Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Masarik’s Dig history podcast project. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a Public Administration masters degree while considering a range of career paths in historical education, museum work, law, public policy, or another field.

The Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project is a multimodal digital public history project that explores the significance of a folk music festival that took place at the University of California, Berkeley, between 1958 and 1970. The Festival’s archive resides at Northwestern University Libraries and its 33,500 artifacts includes photographs, posters, business records, sound, video, and ephemera, many of which have never been publicly available. They are now fully digitized through the support of an National Endowment for the Humanities Access and Preservation Grant. An introductory digital exhibit curated by SUNY Brockport Assistant Professor Dr. Michael J. Kramer (with Olivia’s assistance!) allows both newcomers and aficionados to explore the story of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival and the less studied folk revival on the West Coast of the United States during the 1960s. The exhibit can be viewed online. Dr. Kramer continues to conduct research and curate the archive through an NEH Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant, awarded in 2021. For more about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project, visit BFMF.net.

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