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Delta Center

Delta Center begins eighth year of “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops

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The Delta Center’s “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop began its eighth year this week with an opening reception at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in downtown Cleveland on Sunday evening.

The workshop, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, attracts 36 K-12 educators from across the country. Participants will spend a week in the Delta immersed in the history and culture of the region, interacting directly with its people and places.

Brooke Willis, a high school teacher from Greensboro, North Carolina, said she looks forward to combining her interest in the blues with her passion for history and civil rights.

“I’m excited about looking at history and being in it versus the idea of learning about it through books and movies,” she said. “Actually being in the space, I’m really about getting in touch with the energy.”

Katherine Hackney of Marietta, Georgia said she is excited for the hands-on learning.

“I’ve been teaching a civil rights unit for 12 years, and I’m finally visiting the places I’ve been teaching about,” said Hackney. “I felt like [the Delta] is a place where I could grow.”

This workshop has created a national network of over 500 educational and cultural ambassadors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Participants take what they have learned from the workshop back to their schools and communities, sharing stories and lessons from the Delta with students, colleagues, family and friends, both nationally and globally.

Learn more about the Delta Center at http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

Call for papers: International Conference on the Blues

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, International Delta Blues Project, Students | No Comments

Delta State University is now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, lecture-performances, workshops, panels and clinics for the 4th annual International Conference on the Blues, to be held Oct. 1-3, 2017.

To celebrate the centennial of John Lee Hooker’s birth, the conference committee is soliciting manuscripts and presentations on Hooker’s music, life and influence. In addition, the conference is seeking presentations and papers on the legacy of ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, and especially his fieldwork in Mississippi.

Topics of general interest to scholars and enthusiasts are also welcome, such as the African American musical tradition and its influence on world music; call and response as metaphor; black music and the American Civil Rights Movement; African American history in the Delta; African American folk life; and the genres of blues, jazz, gospel and soul music.

Topics of an interdisciplinary nature are also encouraged. Papers are invited from ethnomusicologists, musicologists, scholars, authors, performers, blues enthusiasts and independent researchers.

Additionally, to support young and emerging scholars (graduate students, recent masters, doctoral graduates and junior faculty), the Luther Brown Prize is awarded to the outstanding young scholar paper.

All presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion, and should address a general audience.

Proposals must be submitted online via www.deltastate.edu/blues. Applicants are ask to include a description of the presentation, audio/visual equipment needs and biographical information for all presenters. Please note that not all A/V requests will be granted. Presenters agree to appear at the conference at their own expense, which will include registration fees.

For more information, contact Shelley Collins and Don Allan Mitchell at blues@deltastate.edu or visit www.deltastate.edu/blues.

National Heritage Areas of Mississippi host Collaboration Clinic

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Collaboration Clinic participants from Mississippi and across the country engage in a team visioning exercise at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

 

Three National Heritage Areas – Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Hills and Mississippi Gulf Coast – held a Collaboration Clinic recently at the Biloxi Visitors Center. The workshop was facilitated by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.

“Collaboration Clinics are a proposed model for helping NPS staff, stakeholders and partners develop more effective skills for collaboration,” said Elizabeth Smith-Incer, Mississippi Field Office director for the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program. “Planners, superintendents and other decision makers need this kind of training to engage communities as we make decisions about the resources we preserve and protect.”

This is the first Collaboration Clinic held in the Southeast region and the first hosted by a group of National Heritage Areas. Since 2014, the clinics have been offered over a dozen times in parks and sites across the country, including New York City, Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Massachusetts and Zion National Park in Utah.

“We were honored to host this first clinic,” said Rhonda Price, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast NHA. “I think collaboration and partnerships are keys to a successful NHA. We are excited to start working together on joint projects like the NPS/NHA passport program.”

Staff and board members from the three NHAs attended along with representatives from Visit Mississippi and the Department of Archives & History in Jackson. Out-of-state attendees included representatives from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the NPS Office of Partnerships & Philanthropic Stewardship based in Washington, D.C.

“In order for National Heritage Areas to thrive, collaboration is vital,” said Mary Cates Williams, executive director of Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. “I was very thankful to the National park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program for facilitating this workshop and allowing Mississippi’s three NHAs to discuss ways to expand and grow our programs. I can speak for all of us when I say that we are grateful to have the support of not only the National Park Service but our Mississippi congressional delegation as well.”

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

The workshop included discussions and exercises on a range of topics, including achieving results through collaboration, improving communication and managing conflict.

The group also heard presentations from Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, which serves as the management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The presentations were about the passport program and the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership.

“We discussed developing a statewide Passport to Your National Parks map and other cooperative marketing strategies to promote tourism to our areas,” said Herts. “We also learned about bird tourism partnership opportunities at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. This was a very productive workshop that will help all of us work together to better serve Delta, Hills and Gulf Coast residents and visitors.”

Learn more about the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning.

Delta Center hosts Amherst, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and Yale students

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, Faculty/Staff, International Delta Blues Project | No Comments
University of Wisconsin students visited Dockery Farms as part of their Geography of the Mississippi Delta course.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted several groups of college and university students conducting experiential learning tours of the Mississippi Delta.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center's Cast of Blues exhibit.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center’s Cast of Blues exhibit.

Students from Amherst College in Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University traveled to the Delta as part of a variety of structured educational and cultural programs. These included spring break service learning initiatives, Jewish Hillel student organizations and a formal course on the Mississippi Delta.

The students from Yale stayed in the region for a week, touring Mound Bayou and Po Monkey’s Lounge while completing service projects with Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi. The Amherst and Mississippi State groups visited The Delta Center on the same day, visiting Dockery Farms and the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville.

The University of Wisconsin students visited The Delta Center for the first time as part of a course about the geography and culture of the Delta.

“We learned that the geography course has been offered at the University of Wisconsin for several years now,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “It is fascinating and exciting to know that such a course about the Mississippi Delta exists at a major research university like Wisconsin.”

Over 40 students from the University of Wisconsin visited the Delta as part of their enrollment in the course. Based on feedback from the visiting faculty and students, interest in the culture and history of the Delta at Wisconsin is strong.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

“Their university administration, including the president, is very supportive of that course,” said Lee Aylward of The Delta Center. “We look forward to working with them and the other groups again.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history, and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

River Kings 2 Tour coming to campus

By | Delta Center, International Delta Blues Project, QEP, Students | No Comments

The Office of Student Life, Quality Enhancement Plan, the International Delta Blues Project, the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, and the Delta Music Institute are partnering to host Southern hip-hop artists and social activists Marco Pavé and Alfred Banks on April 11 for two events open to the Delta State community and public.

These events are part of the sustainability mission of Delta State’s annual Winning the Race Conference.

Event #1 – 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in Baioni Conference Center:
Scott Barretta from the International Delta Blues Project will moderate a lunch panel featuring Pavé and Alfred Banks. The discussion will center on the intersections of music, social justice and activism, as well as discussing music entrepreneurship, the creative economy and regional musical influences. Lunch will be provided for attendees. The event will be in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall from 12:15-1:30 pm.

Event #2 – Union First Floor Lounge from 4-6 p.m.:
Pavé and Banks will perform a casual, lounge-style concert in the Union. Refreshments will be available. This interactive event is an opportunity to hear the duo perform, as well aa ask questions about their music, influences and activism.

Pavé, a Memphis native, and Banks, from New Orleans, have built solid followings in and around their respective cities and beyond. Pavé has been featured on Apple music, MTV, The Root and has delivered a Ted Talk on arts entrepreneurship. Banks has been featured on RevoltTv, BBC Russia, on several national tours, and has a song featured in a Volkswagen commercial. On their own, they both have viable careers, but in the summer of 2016 they decided to join forces and tour together through the River Kings Tour. Their 2016 efforts were so successful that round two will be an 18-city tour.