As a part of the Vital Skills exhibition at the James Watrous Gallery, exhibitions manager Jody Clowes convenes a conversation about the importance and relevance of preserving traditional skills and the best means for passing them on. How are these skills being taught in Wisconsin now, and what other avenues might be explored? Are there important skills that are not being preserved? What allies might we find in other arenas, from environmental and cultural groups to urban planners, energy experts, and the business community? With Greg David, farmer, D.I.Y. energy-systems builder, and co-founder of Sustain Jefferson; Jim Lorman, director of Edgewood College's Sustainability Leadership Program; Ruth Olson, folklorist, UW-Madison Center for Upper Midwestern Cultures; Anne Pryor, director of the Wisconsin Arts Board's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program; and Robert Schulz, blacksmith and founder of Driftless Folk School, Viroqua. Moderated by Vital Skills curator Jody Clowes. Presented in partnership with Sustain Dane and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Upper Midwestern Cultures. Recorded on Sunday, April 14, at the Wisconsin Studio in Overture Center for the Arts, Madison. Video provided courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television.
Resources for Re-skilling
Jody Clowes has been director of the Academy's James Watrous Gallery since 2014. She is also the arts editor for Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine.
Greg David is a designer, builder, and enthusiastic proponent of small-scale energy systems. He creates rocket stoves, simple devices that efficiently burn "waste" wood for cooking, heating, and powering engines. The stoves are designed so that a few handfuls of twigs or wood chips provide enough fuel to cook a meal.
Jim Lorman, PhD, is Academic Director for the Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program at Edgewood College in Madison. Jim has taught science and integrative studies at Edgewood College for 30 years and is a recipient of the Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award.
Ruth Olson is the Associate Director for the Center for Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania .
Anne Pryor is a folklorist who specializes in the traditional cultures of Wisconsin. She holds degrees in Education and Cultural Anthropology. Pryor served as a folklorist on staff with the Wisconsin Arts Board from 1996 to 2016, where she coordinated the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program and the Woodland Indian Arts Initiative.
Robert Schulz and his family live on their ‘New Traditions Homestead’ in rural Hillsboro, WI, a project they started in 2004. Features of their farm include natural building, alternative energy and water systems, organic market produce and gardening, draft horse power, and a working blacksmith shop.
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