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Infield 2008: Evaluations, recommendations, and impacts

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Title: Infield 2008: Evaluations, recommendations, and impacts
Authors: Genetti, Carol
Siemens, Rebekka
Issue Date: 14 Mar 2009
Description: The first Institute on Fieldwork and Language Documentation was held during the summer of 2008 on the UC Santa Barbara campus. InField was experimental in many respects; for example, it was the first time that workshops were combined with field training, that linguists and language activists were brought together for shared training, and that teams of instructors were created from people with no prior acquaintance. By all accounts, InField was a success and it is clear that plans for extending this into a regular biennial event should move forward. However, it is critical that future offerings of InField both build on the successes and learn from the mistakes of previous institutes. In this presentation, we will provide a critical assessment of InField 2008. This assessment will be based on an analysis of three sets of participant evaluations, completed at the end of individual workshops, at the end of the set of workshops, and at the end of field training. The observations in these documents will be supplemented by our own experiences as InField directors. Among the topics we will cover are the composition of the participants, the field training component and the balance with the workshops, the extensive use of team teaching, the plenary “Models” and “Steps” workshops, the non-curricular activities, the development of the website and archives, the need for different levels of instruction, and the implications of this for curriculum development. Based on our analysis, we will then make recommendations on how future InFields can be improved. We will close the discussion with a broader assessment of the impact of InField. This can be seen at various levels, from decisions made by particular graduate students, to speech communities, to the field of linguistics as a whole. The long-term impact of InField as a biennial institute will not only provide a reliable resource for linguists and language activists. It will also help in the construction of a visible network of practitioners of documentary and conservation work and serve as one organizational center for this global network. The solidification and increased visibility of the network will in turn help to reify documentary linguistics as an independent subfield within linguistics, raising its profile internationally, and emphasizing its importance to funding bodies and universities. Equally important, as the network strengthens and grows, it will become visible to an increasing number of speech communities, allowing for the transmission of training, ideas, and inspiration for new community activists.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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