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George A. Smathers Mini Grant Final Report Form : A Performing Arts Approach to Collection Development Date: 12/20/2013 PI: Rebecca Jefferson Project Title : A Performing Arts Approach to Collection Development Funds Requested: $3,769.00 Cost Share: $ 4,4 38.72 Total Funds expended: $3,661.36 Funds Remaining: $107.64 Brief Description of Project: This project generate d three performances (two musical and spoken word piece s entitled Composing A Hear t & Other Immigrant Stories and one devised theater piece ) to targeted and non targeted audiences, each of which were assessed for their impact. The k ey project members include d Bess de Farber (UF Libraries), Rebecca Jefferson (Price Library of Judaica), Sophia Krzys Acord (Center for the Humanities and the Publ ic Sphere) and Kevin Marshall (Center for Arts and Public Policy). Im portant contributions were made by Jim Liversidge (Special Collections), Patrick Pagano (Digital Worlds Institute) and Barbara Ho od (Director of students and post award video editing by Barbara Hendrix. Composing A Heart & Other Immigrant Stories is a devised musical and spoken word ensemble created around an original compos i tion by Craig Ames and Be ss de Farber It encompasses recitations of primary source material by Rebecca Jefferson and a musical component by Jim Liversidge based on special collections at UF was a n additional feature of the first performance to UF students and faculty in October 2012. A devised theater piece, A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant Stories based on two items in the Price Library of Judaica was created by Professor Kevin Marshall and his students in collaboration with Patrick Pagano and his students. The multimedia perform ance was presented to the public for four nights in April to around 500 viewers live and on the internet. A third performance (a second performance of Composing A Heart & Other Immigrant Stories ) was put together for a targeted Jewish audience in Jacksonvi lle at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in October 2013 Composer Craig Ames accompanied the performance s by Bess de Farber and Rebecca Jefferson on piano. Dr. Sophia Krzys Acord compiled and anal yzed the data gathered from all three performances, and the team met after each performance to discuss the results and their significance. Prof essor Ma rshall spoke about the project at the International Society and t he Arts Conference in Budapest in July 2013 and the team presented a panel on the subject for the I magining America conference in October 2013. Both conference presentations on the project were enthusiastically received. A third conference presentation, entitled will be delivered at The Qualita tive Report (TQR) Fifth Annual Conference on January 17, 2014.
The team members are still discussing the future life of the project, i.e., the building and replication of a model for use in other institutions and they are working towards publishing the re sults of the project. Results: The following evaluation summary was written and compiled by Dr. Sophia Krzys Acord I. Evaluation Activities The following evaluation activities were carried out by Sophia Acord and Roxana Gonzalez (BA student, Sociology) during the 2012 13 grant year: Submission to the UF Institutional Review Board of the evaluation research proposal (November 2012), and revision to the proposal (August 2013). (Consent form available in Appendix 4) Creation and analysis of four different audience survey instruments. (Final feedback card and survey texts available in Appendix 1) o 9 audience feedback cards received (70% response rate) for November 16, 2012 performance of Composing a Heart and Other Immigrant Stories at the UF McGuire Pavilion o 115 audience surveys received (57% response rate) for the April 17 21, 2013 performances of A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant Stories at the UF Digital Worlds Institute. (A revised survey was produced after the first two performances.) o 16 audience surveys received (38% response rate) for the October 6, 2013 performance of Composing a Heart and Other Immigrant Stories at the Jewish Community Alliance in Jacksonville. Participation in audience talk backs at all performance events. Observation at all perform ance events and informal interviews with a minimum of three audience members following each event. Creation of an interview protocol and online survey, and follow up email or phone contact with 25 cumulative audience members two to three months following t he relevant performance. 15 minute phone interviews were conducted with 3 audience members; survey responses were received from 4 audience members. (Interview protocol available in Appendix 2) Attendance at one rehearsal of A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant S tories Post performance focus group with five cast members of A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant Stories. (Interview protocol available in Appendix 3) Post performance interviews with three members of the A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant Stories technical team. (Interview protocol available in Appendix 3) 1 Examination of Web materials related to the project (e.g., Digital Projection Course blog). Creation of this final evaluation summary, as well as abstract submissions and other contributions to two conference panel presentations: Imagining America (Syracuse 1 *The evaluation did not conduct formal end of grant interviews with the project PIs, as originally planned. This change w as due to the regular discussion opportunities for the project team during and beyond the grant period.
University, 2013), The Qualitative Report 5 th Annual Conference (Nova Southeastern University, 2014) These evaluation methods were designed to gauge audience reactions to each performance, and report any c evaluation also examined the process of project development from different stakeholder perspectives, to discover broader impacts and best practices. Overall, this evaluation was exploratory in scope and sought to discuss a wide array of project outcomes to inform the development of similar programs. Further details about any point can be supplied on demand. II. Audience Reactions by Performance The paragraphs below offer bri ef descriptive summaries of the audience survey/interview findings from each performance. 1. November 16, 2012 Composing a Heart and Other Immigrant Stories UF McGuire Pavilion This audience was composed of a mix of graduate students in acting, under graduate students, potential donors to the Price Library of Judaica, and fellow staff/faculty members. The main and family members, a curiosity to learn more about performance that involved reflections upon their own family and family stories, their proposed next steps appeared to b e modulated based on age and individual family history. While older individuals in the audience reacted by wanting to share their family stories, younger individuals reacted by wanting to gather their family stories. Overall, however, the majority of the reported to create or augment a focus on the need to carry out the planned actions. After this opening performance, the audience surveys were augmented to measu re more specifically changes in donation behavior for the following performances. 2. April 17 21, 2013 A Handful of Leaves: Immigrant Stories UF Digital Worlds Institute 65% were students, 5% reported being retired, and the remaining 30% of the audi ence was made up of faculty and other individuals between 40 and 60 years of age. Roughly 60% of this audience was female, and 40% male. 60% of audience members came to the show because they knew someone in the cast, 22% came because of an interest in the topic, 13% after it was recommended by a friend, and the remaining 5% needed to see the show for class credit. When asked how they share their stories, the majority of audience members (70%) note that their families share stories largely verbally through F have taken more active steps to document their family stories through creating video recordings, writing individual me moirs, and creating scrapbooks; the remaining 10% of the audience had done very active genealogical and archival research to create formal records of family histories.
52% of the audience had never visited an archive, while 41% had (the remaining 7% of the audience did not answer this question). Many of those who had visited archives had done so through classes or schoolwork, but several other individuals visited museum archives out of personal historical interest (e.g., in Washington D.C.). When asked whet her they had ever considered contributing to an archive, 16% (18 people) had already done so (mostly items to local historical museums), 23% had never thought of the idea of doing so, and the remaining 55% of the audience would not consider doing so (citin g most frequently that they did not have anything of value or interest to anyone else, that they preferred to keep family mementos in the family, or that they do not know enough about their family heirlooms). In reflecting upon the performance following, audience members noted connecting with a variety of vivid scenes and characters, often through sharing traits in common with the characters or commonly cited as moving was the cattle car scene. Several audience members also noted the important role played by the visual images, particularly the maps, in helping them to follow the stories along as well as create a more immersive (and thus emotive) experience. Audie nce members reported a variety of takeaway lessons from the play, including the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of learning history (particularly overlooked historical details), a reminder of the diversity of stories and perspectives that ex ist on the Holocaust or the American This performance had a significant impact on how audience members thought about library arch ives. Over 70% (51 individuals out of 72 respondents to the question) indicated that this production changed their perception of library archives, and 75% of those who were asked specifically about donating responded that the performance made them more lik ely to donate (27/35 individuals who responded to this question). Most of those who reported no change a few individuals remained static in their opinion that they do not have anything of value to donate. Those who reported an increased interest in archives cited a new understanding of in the survey, which the majority of individuals did briefly. Audience interviews 2+ month s later shared ongoing memories related to their experience of particular emotions related to the performance. All audience members interviewed had taken action by telling others about the play and speaking to family elders about their history, and one ind ividual travelled to Greece to visit a family cemetery plot. Another individual recently experienced the death of his mother, and began going through her things with an eye to identifying objects suitable for donation. After performances 1 and 2, the surv eys were altered to ask audience members about changes in their donation behavior. After all UF performances, the survey was shortened and updated with a question about proposed action plans following the performance.
3. October 6, 2013 Composing a Hear t and Other Immigrant Stories Jewish Community Alliance 75% of this audience was over the age of 65 and retired. Roughly 70% were women, and 30% were men. The primary reasons why individuals attended this event were: regular attendance at JCA events, in terest in the subject matter, and personal friendships/invitations by those involved in the project. The primary ways that these individuals share their family stories is through speaking with children and grandchildren (who ask them questions) and maintai ning scrapbooks, although two individuals had written books for their family and one family in attendance had been prominent donors to the Price Library of Judaica. Over 60% of this audience had some knowledge or experience with archives (either to do gene alogy, scholarly work, or out of curiosity). 56% of this audience had never considered giving a personal item to an archive, citing that they did not think that they had anything to give, had never thought about it, or were not well organized. One individu al, however, noted that s/he was in search for a way to preserve Audience members reported the music as a very significant part of the storytelling, which together created a very emotive atmos by the genre and did not know how to decipher the connection between music and story.) The reported a variety of take aways relating to the power of the human spirit, a desire to look more d to the yacht club pass). Out of those individuals who had never contemplated donating to an archive and who completed both sides of the survey, 66% reported co nsidering doing so now, and 33% reported no change). Of those who 4 individuals who reported a change, one was prepared to collect some documents to give to UF, but the other three did not have immediate plans of action. Of those individuals who had alread y contemplated donating to archives, they reported their future plans to better organize their personal collections, to continue their family archives, and to share more information with their children. Audience members interviewed 2+ months following th is performance remarked that the performance was still on their minds. One individual noted that she had thought of the performance just yesterday while listening to the radio. Although these audience members had not yet taken any actions related to donati on, they remained committed to their plans to do so. III. Evaluation Findings A. Did the project achieve the goal of increased donations to the Price Library of Judaica? The specific question of increased donations can best be addressed by the Price Lib rary. The Over 70% of audience members across all performances reported an increased interest and value of archives following the performance, and 76% of individuals who were asked exp licitly about their likelihood of donating objects to libraries responded that they were more likely to do so following the
performance. 2 Regrettably, there were not consistent enough responses to this question to test what personal variables were linked to this change. It does appear, however, that individuals who attended the performance because of a friend or assignment were slightly more likely about 10 20% -to experience a change in perception than those who attended the performance out of interes t in the subject matter. 3 This likely indicates only that the play was successful in communicating with a wide range of audiences beyond a particular target group. Indeed, the non Jewish members of the creative team and cast equally noted that they felt li ke they connected directly with the stories despite not having a shared Jewish immigrant story. In sum, the majority of audience members noted that the performance instilled in them a desire to take action of some sort to gather, share, preserve, or dona te family items or stories. There was a difference, however, between individuals who wanted to take active steps following the performance (e.g., collecting family stories, visiting archives, and instigating a donation), and those who wanted to take more p assive steps (e.g., being more aware/appreciative of archives, time adv ising others on the importance of donating to archives, while still thinking that they had nothing of value to donate themselves. To theorize these findings, these archival performance events appeared to act as artificial ss by getting people excited about the idea of donating objects. Several audience members reflected upon the small number of naturally occurring triggers that prompt them to reflect upon the importance of documenting and preserving family objects and histo ries, such as visiting museums, attending family funerals, personal health problems or a performance had a similar effect, though in a much more positive contex t. 2 This figure comes from combining the 27/35 positive responses from the last two Digital Worlds performances with the 4/6 positive responses from the J AX performance. 3 More specifically, 48% of individuals who attended the Digital Worlds and Jacksonville performances because of a friend reported a change in behavior, while 39% of those who attended the performance because of interest in the subject matt er reported a change in behavior. This discrepancy is not particularly useful, because those who reported an interest in the subject matter were slightly more likely to have contemplated donation in the first place (24% vs. 18%). Work to look back at your family, gather family stories, etc. Get excited about donating + Get knowledge of archives and what they take/accept Donation of materials
Importantly, not all audience members were not simply ready to donate items. As demonstrated in the figure above, the decision to donate items to a library archive is seen by this project as requiring two preconditions: (1) peopl e must know that libraries take in such items (that donation is even possible), and (2) people must learn that they have items of significance to others. The former precondition was met extremely well by the work of this project to showcase the donation pr ocess by dramatizing the connections between donor and archivist (e.g., through Jefferson and A Handful of Leaves through on stage discussions between de Farber and Jefferson, and through audience talk backs about the development of the pieces which include existing donors in the audience). The latter condition involves a variety of personal steps that were met by the performances in different ways: 1. Indivi duals need to recall what they have in their possession: where it is and that they have it. This precondition was by the incorporation of archival objects into the performances, such as the objects that de Farber pulled out of her box, and the digitized ar chival items projected in A Handful of Leaves Several audience members noted that these items reminded them of items in their own possession. 2. Individuals need to know what these artifacts are : what it is and enough information about it to describe it to best met by the Composing a Heart and Other Immigrant Stories Performance in which de Farber, Jefferson, and Liversidge narrated items. Some audience members noted that hearing these narrat ions reminded them as to what stories might be attached to their own family possessions. 3. Individuals need to know that these artifacts have significance : the relationship or connection that the artifacts have to historical events. This precondition was m et by the work of de Farber and Jefferson to showcase larger narratives of immigration, gender, and age that relate to individual life experiences. This precondition was met particularly well by A Handful of Leaves which set the performance against the bac kdrop of significant world events and conflict. Several audience members expressed surprise at events. 4. Individuals need to feel that others value them : experience a current of philanthropy and a friendship with the archivist. This precondition was met through the audience talk backs, as people shared their personal enjoyment at meeting Jefferson and colleagues. This precondition was also met through the emotive nature of the performances, as audience members came to value the objects and lives of other individuals and, by so doing, reflect upon the renewed importance of their own family stories. To gather and summarize the points made so far, even though the main goal of the project was to increase outreach and donations to the collection, it seems that such projects must also engage in
more preliminary education about the value of individual objects and items to reach this goal (something which this project did very w ell). Although the project was overwhelmingly successful in building the foundation for longer term and stronger relationships between archives and audiences in terms of visitation and donation, financial donations to the archive did not emerge as a theme in the evaluation. When asked, audience members did not realize that there were financial implications to preserving archival materials. These same audience members encouraged a more explicit probing of this topic in later performances. B. How can perfor mance create deeper connections to archival objects, personal and family histories, and lay practices of community knowledge making? s precise sentiment was formulated independently and almost identically by over 30 audience and cast members across the entire project. As one audience member reported taking away, "every life matters, every story counts, and every experience contributes t o the world as a whole". This significant outcome goes much of the way in explaining the impact of the performance and its link to donations. But, how was it achieved? nts of the performance was cited by audience members and cast members alike as the crucial explanation for the success of the project in building human connections between audience members and archives. As described in audience interviews, the move between the 1 st and the 3 rd person in the performances helped people to see that the items they experience individually are part of greater A Handful of Leaves noted (paraphrased by Acord), the historical with the play, it let me in on what is going on in this time period. In history class, you approach archives in a very objective way: you just study the m. But the play lets you how we actually create the archive. I mean, it helps me to focus on the idea that archives are composed over time with people depositing things and others curating them. The things that we value in our own lives are what we give to archives, so the play helps to This link between individual people and historical moments was further reinforced for audience members by the ar chival objects interwoven through the performances, which represented the of the performances, such as the episodes concerning brewing and salt from A Handful of Leaves were cited as very important because they used first person narratives to add very important details to
the historical record. In this way, these ordinary stori es were seen as teaching us something new about a time period, and audience members realized that small details their family members shared with them were actually important parts of constituting wider historical phenomena. But, it was not enough to make p eople see the lives and contributions of historical characters. In particular, audience members had to feel like they cared about the individual people, in the way that they care about their own families. Audience members described the importance of the hu morous moments in the plays as things that they could connect to, as well as quite descriptive he sheer enjoyment that audience members took in the stories of others was significant, as it conveyed not only that their own stories might be important, but that they might be interesting to others. As one audience that audience and cast members became involved with the characters, the more that they saw the performance enab The final successful connection that was made in the performance was between actors and audience. As one cast members (each other) than with the audience, but the reverse of this was true with this Indeed, audience members perceiv ed the actors particularly de Farber, but also others as engaging in an intimate sharing with them. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that many of the audience talk backs turned into opportunities for audience members to connect with each other in turn These talk backs turned into mini support groups at times, as audience members entreated each other to take care of their family stories. It is also important to note that these talk backs also served another, more pragmatic function; that of solidifying materials. C. What recommendations have project participants put forward for future projects? This project was cited as a tremendous success by all individuals on the cre ative team, technical teams, and cast. The project built on available resources at the university, employing extant courses and personnel, and fulfilling research, teaching, and service responsibilities for existing UF faculty. The highest praise given to the project is that the project partners would all like to do this again. Moreover, the relationship between the archive and the drama were seen to be genuinely collaborative and independent, with both facets of the creative team sharing expertise. In fol low up interviews with audience members, as well as members of the creative team and 1. Talent of the musician, artist, actors, and designers 2. Caliber of personal and historical research into the stories 3. The setting of the performance in a situation of major historical importance. (This was cited by audience members as making everyone in the audience realize that their stories are not only interesting, but also impo rtant to preserve and disseminate.)
The creative team also developed their own formula for success: 1. choose the most relevant events and visual imagery to carry through, 2. decide on the right combination of scripting versus improvisation, and 3. then refine t hese in an atmosphere of open collaboration. It was suggested by several individuals from the production and audience sides of the project that it would be beneficial to have more explicit archival education or training session following the performance. simply talk to their family members, but also get them to identify photographs. This added documentation of stories can happen on the spot. This information could also take the form of an audience handout with information on websites to begin exploring family histories, or even a very pragmatic steps of how they can beg in to put their history together, so that they can then take these necessary steps towards a donation. Audience members also appreciated interactions with the archivists and curators in the audience talk backs. Audience members enjoyed immensely seeing a rchival materials play a role in the performance. It helped them to make a connection between the memory maker (the storyteller) and the archivist (the preserver of the stories). One individual recommended that the photos at the erformance be labeled to help audience members to put faces with names (either terms of endearment like Papi or formal titles like Mr. de Farber). The act of labeling could impress upon audience members the important act of labeling and archiving forma Another theme that emerged from the evaluation is that many people found the performances to be very unexpected. The nature of the performances was not clear to them from the marketing. On the one hand, this may have attract ed certain audiences; on the other hand, it may have excluded audiences by not conveying the richness of the performances. Several audience members suggested that more publicity description of the specific and rich nature of the performance could be benefi cial. (Note that no one offered any specific ideas or suggestions!) Lessons Learned: The project team was struck by the power of their unique collaboration and how many great ideas were generated when different disciplines meet. Post performance assessm ents have been very insightful, and the team is looking forward to presenting the results in a jointly published article and to devising a model for replication in other institutions. Budget: Expenses Categories Cost Center for Humanities & Public Sphe re Transfer for Sophia Acord Project
Participation 1,200.00 Center for Arts and Public Policy Transfer for Kevin Marshall Project Participation 1,200.00 American Airlines Airfare for Ames 369.80 Four Points Sheraton Hotel for 10/05/13 77.97 Four Points Sheraton Hotel for 10/05/14 Sales tax reimbursement (8.97) Craig D Ames Reimbursement Taxi and meals 122.56 Morgan Boecher Images for PowerPoint and Tech Services 200.00 Craig D Ames Service pe rformed producer, composer, pianist 500.00 Total 3,661.36 Total actual costs including cost share : $ 8100.88 = ($ 4,438.72 cost share + $ 3,661.36 awarded funds expended ) Still to be completed: The team is still working towards produc ing their joint journal article based on the project activities and findings. Updated Timeline: (add more lines as necessary) Date Activity Status November 2012 performance. Research design and IRB applicatio n submitted. Research materials prepared. Students auditioned and cast for theater performance Completed November 16, 2012 Composing A Heart & Other Immigrant Stories performed for around 20 students, faculty and staff and locals. Feedback collected and a nalyzed. Completed November 2012 April 2013 Kevin Marshall and Patrick Pagano and their students worked with two items from the Price Library to write and produce a multimedia theater piece to be performed at the Digital Worlds Institute. Grant funds paid for costume Completed
design. Rehearsals. April 17 20, 2013 performed at the Digital Worlds Institute Reve for four nights to live audiences and over the internet. An audience talk back was conducted each nigh t; feedback forms were collected and a summary of the feedback distributed to the team members Completed June 2013 Post performance assessment Post performance debriefing Completed June September, 2013 Prepare marketing for Jacksonville performance of Co mposing A Heart Work with JCA to prepare venue for performance. Produce and distribute publicity materials for JCA event Completed October 6, 2013 Community Alliance, Jacksonville Completed October, 2013 Post performance assessment Prepare a report on research results Prepare a plan for further funding and publication of results Completed Still planning publication of results
Appendix 1: Audience Feedback Card and Survey Feedba ck Card Text We invite you to share your own thoughts and reactions with the performance team today. What are you taking away from this experience, and did it match your expectations for attending today? And how you feel about preserving and sharing storie s from your own personal or family histories? Survey Text Dr. Sophia K. Acord, UF Humanities Center, is collecting audience reactions to this performance. Before and after the performance, we invite you to share your thoughts with her and the performance t eam. I. BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE How do you collect or share your family stories and history? What do you know about archives (at libraries or museums)? Have you ever visited one, and if so, why? Have you ever considered contributing a personal or family memento to a library/museum archive? Why or why not? II. AFTER THE PERFORMANCE Did any scenes, people, or audio/visual elements in the performance really strike you? How? What do you take away from these i mmigrant stories? Did anything about these immigrant stories surprise you? Has this performance affected how you think about archives or donating to archives? How or why not? formance, what are they? Would you like to tell me a little about yourself? Age: 10 17 18 29 30 49 50 65 over 65 Gender: M F Occupation: student retired other____________ If you would be willing to speak further w performance, please share your contact information below. You can also email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org Name: Email or Phone:
Appendix 2: Audience Interview Protocol I ntroductions and thanks and permission to record Background questions (get them re situated in the play, refresher) Do you go to the theatre much? How did you hear about the play? Pointed questions Are you still thinking about the play? (impact echo) o If so : In what ways? o If not: Why not? o I see that X or Y really resonated with you? Have you acted on anything that you learned in the play? o Did you tell somebody about it? o Since then, have you looked into your own history? o Have you sought out more information about the archival materials in person or online? o Did you act in any way related to your survey answers? accomplished with simply a staged reading, or an exhibit, or hearing a lecture? Did you enjoy the talk back? What would you have done differently? One of the functions of the project is to connect people with archives, and to hopefully increase donations of objects and money to support and preserve the collections. Do you fe el that the play achieved this goal? If not, what could have been done differently? o E.g., have more information about the collection? o E.g., have Rebecca Jefferson, the curator, present to answer your questions? o E.g., have someone explain more about how arc hives work? Question about methods how best to contact. Audience Online Survey Are you still thinking about the performance? Did you take any kind of action that stemmed from your experienc e with the performance?
Would you suggest any changes to later performances?
Appendix 3 Cast Interview Protocol How did you come to be involved in the project? What was the process of designing the concept for the show? How did you work with the arc hival materials and the director? How did you figure out the story? What did you take away from the performance? What did you take away from the audience? Do you think about archives differently now? Idea of donating to archives? How would we convey this? Did anything surprise you? How do you conceive of the relationship between the reality of the materials and the entertainment aspects of the performance? Would you offer any thoughts for individuals engaging in a project like this at another institution? What worked well? What would you have done differently? Technical Team Interview Protocol How did you come to be involved in the project? What was the process of designing the concept or specific designs for the show? How did you work with the archi val materials and the director? How did you figure out the story? Evolution of design concepts during the show? How do you conceive of the relationship between the reality of the materials and the entertainment aspects of the performance? What did you take away from the performance? Did anything surprise you? Do you think about archives differently now?
Would you offer any thoughts for individuals engaging in a project like this at another institution? What worked well? What would you have done different ly?
Appendix 4 Informed Consent and Evaluation Information for Survey and Interview Participants