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  • 17 Jan 2018 1:15 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    Welcome to the Winter 2018 issue of VAN.  The first issue in the new year is packed with useful information including calls for papers and panels and information on a special tribute event for Dell Upton to be held this spring.  Featured in this issue is the upcoming annual meeting A Shared Heritage: Urban and Rural Experience on the Banks of the Potomac coming in May 2018.  Members have shared wonderful news of publications, exciting fieldwork recently completed, and updates from the New England Chapter.  Two in-depth articles include reflections from last year’s Access Awardee and a technical article on the use of dendrochronology and AMS carbon-14 dating.  To round out the issue is the newest bibliography packed with useful resources that span the disciplines that contribute to vernacular architecture studies.  Thanks as always for the contributions to the newsletter, please keep them coming!

    Christine Henry, Newsletter Editor

  • 17 Jan 2018 1:10 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    Excitement is building for the upcoming 2018 VAF annual meeting that will be headquartered in Alexandria, VA!  With extensive tours on both sides of the Potomac River, the theme for the conference is “A Shared Heritage: Urban and Rural Experience on the Banks of the Potomac.”  Highlights include an opening reception on a boat cruise down the Potomac concluding with a sunset arrival and the opening keynote address at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Thursday’s tours will explore three centuries of Maryland history, including Bostwick House, a 1746 brick Georgian structure with a terraced lawn, Galesville, 19th-century free-black community on the West River, and 20th century structures at Alice Ferguson’s Hard Bargain Farm.  Friday’s self-guided walking tours of Old Town Alexandria include special access to the 18th century timber frame structure known as the Murray-Dick-Fawcett House, and the attic of the Stabler-Leadbetter Apothecary opened in 1805, as well as entry into several sacred spaces in the 20th century African American neighborhood now known as the Parker-Gray historic district (North Alexandria).  For conference details, go to the VAF conference section of the website and click on the bold program and paper sessions links. Registration will open in early February.


  • 17 Jan 2018 1:00 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    by Rachel Heiman, The New School

    What a delight it has been for me to have found my way to the Vernacular Architecture Forum, with its warm and welcoming intellectual community of scholars and practitioners who deeply appreciate the profound significance of the mundane materiality of everyday life. As an anthropologist increasingly working at the intersection of architecture and urbanism, I had come to feel that I needed to step further outside of my intellectual comfort zone. I had been spending far too much time at anthropology conferences and needed something that would trigger unexpected thoughts and unanticipated connections. I also had been appointed chair of the Urban Studies program at my university, with a charge to find ways to reinvigorate its liberal arts curriculum while building new bridges with our design school. So I did what we admittedly often do in moments of antsiness and interested curiosity: I turned to Google.

    It was during a moment of seeming procrastination that I came upon a website that listed various upcoming Urban Studies conferences, including the Vernacular Architecture Forum in Salt Lake City. How perfect, I thought! I had spent significant time conducting ethnographic research in the Salt Lake Valley in the Daybreak master-planned community, a massive transit-oriented development on reclaimed land once used for mining activities and developed with equal parts attention to sustainable suburban design and the values and practices of Utah’s members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints. Yet my knowledge of the architectural, religious, extractive, and cultural history of Utah was too limited to fully appreciate the ways that Daybreak’s designers and marketing team were articulating global discourses of ecodevelopment with local desires, values, and aesthetics, including historical buildings and landscapes. When I read about the 2017 VAF conference theme, “Two Utahs: Religious and Secular Landscapes in the Great Basin West,” and looked over past VAF programs and saw the unique conference structure with extensive tours, social gatherings, and presentations from practitioners and academics, I was sold.

    Little did I know of the other gem of VAF conferences: the amazing tour books! My first night at the conference I found myself reading them well into the wee hours of the night, wishing that I could clone myself and participate in all of the tours. I ended up choosing the ones most directly related to my research and delighted in what I learned. The first day on the tour of the Sanpete Valley, “Town and Temple: Mormon Villages in the Nineteenth Century,” I came away considering Brigham Young in a whole new light: as an urban planner and early proponent of using infrastructure construction as a form of economic stimulus. I also charmingly learned that Scandinavian design refers not only to mid-century modern furniture and Ikea, but also to early Mormon settler log-cabin notches! The next morning, in perfect complement with the “Two Utahs” theme, I went on the downtown walking tour, “Urbanization and Reurbanization of the Gentile City.” The tour enabled me for the first time to see the downtown’s built environment as an object lesson in the uneasy relationship between the LDS Church and federal, mining, and railroad interests, from the siting of the Moss Courthouse to the Neo-Classical style of the Stock and Mining Exchange. That afternoon on the “Two Rails, Two Developments: Re-urbanization in Salt Lake City” tour, I came to appreciate how the city’s early development as an urban agrarian settlement created unique conditions for contemporary efforts to retrofit Salt Lake City for a sustainable future. While its wide streets might feel alienating for pedestrians, they provide ample space for multiple re-uses, with light rail tracks, bike lanes, moving cars, and parked cars all able to share the same terrain. And the massive block size, while also a retrofit challenge for human-scale dynamism, enables residential neighborhoods to have ample backyard space to add detached dwelling units that do not affect the form and character of neighborhoods. On this tour, I also greatly valued seeing the architecture of homes in Sugar House, many of which form the design palette for homes in Daybreak.

    The following day, it was admittedly a stark transition from tours in the bright, hot sun to talks in windowless conference rooms, but the warmth of the VAF crowd made the day of presentations an equal pleasure. Having spent two and a half days meeting new colleagues at receptions, on bus rides, and in tour clusters, I felt welcomed into the VAF intellectual community in a way that I had never experienced at a large conference. As panel discussions spilled into halls, I had so many stimulating conversations, including how the “fieldwork turn” in vernacular architecture research is converging in interesting ways with anthropology’s “material turn,” even as claims to new turns in both fields elide long histories with these practices in each. As the final reception and dinner came to a close that night, I was for the first time in my academic career sad to see a conference come to an end. I had known no one when I first arrived and had chosen this conference largely because of its location in Salt Lake City, but as I packed up my tour books and scrolled through tour pictures on my phone, I expectantly put into my calendar the dates for the next VAF conference on the banks of the Potomac. See you all there!

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:50 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    by Sam Biggers

    Orson Fowler is well-known within the field of Architectural History through his mid-nineteenth century works promoting the octagon house. These works fall within a long list of pattern books published during that era, which gave greater variety to American architecture. Octagon houses on the American landscape easily attributable to Fowler remain a distinctive part of American architectural history. The vast majority of these houses were constructed out of a relative of modern concrete, coined by Fowler as the “gravel wall plan.” Gravel wall was both a construction material and method that was essentially a mixture of lime-based mortar and varying sizes of stone. In the second edition of A Home for All, Fowler willingly abandoned the stacked-plank construction method outlined in his first edition in favor of the gravel wall plan, having witnessed its strength and durability during an 1850 trip to the Midwest.  

    Detail of the wall materials, showing large fieldstones and specks of lime in the mortar.Beginning with a tip from a local historian, I have begun to study a vernacular use of Fowler’s gravel wall plan in Augusta County, Virginia. Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Augusta County’s architectural traditions have received an unusually high level of study over the past decades. Much of this study, however, focused primarily on more wide-spread building materials such as brick and log, and less on more scarcely-used materials such as concrete. Similarly, much of the study of Orson Fowler-inspired houses throughout the country have focused more on the octagon form and its diaspora more than the innovative materials. My research attempts to bridge this gap, and will hopefully add to the already rich scholarship on Shenandoah Valley architecture.  

    A 1976 photo of a now non-existent house in northern Augusta County, showing the wall construction. Photo courtesy Virginia DHR


    After almost a year of fieldwork, I have identified 43 buildings in Augusta County whose construction methods and materials can be linked to Orson Fowler’s A Home For All. With the exception of an octagonal barn and a house, all other buildings identified were constructed of Fowler’s “gravel wall plan.” These buildings used Fowler’s material, but rejected the octagon form in favor of already established local forms, such as the I-house. Furthermore, all of the identified buildings were finished with a lime stucco render, and many were scored to give the appearance of stone block.

    A double-pile, center passage example located in northern Augusta County

    Fieldwork was completed between March 2017 and January 2018, and sought to capture data to more closely study and analyze these buildings. In particular, a combination of site visits, measured drawings, deed and tax research, and biographical information were all completed to create a baseline of data to compare between buildings. My findings suggest that the vast majority of the buildings were built by a single builder, who a newspaper article claims constructed over 80 gravel wall buildings in Augusta County and the surrounding area. This builder worked within the instructions laid out by Fowler’s A Home for All.  The buildings he constructed varied widely by plan and style, suggesting that the design process was fluid and likely followed local trends. Research and interaction with regional architectural historians has revealed that this building phenomenon is found throughout the Shenandoah Valley and points nearby, opening the possibility of further study and expanded research.

    This research was undertaken for a thesis entitled “Orson Fowler’s Influence in the Shenandoah Valley: Gravel Wall Buildings in Augusta County, Virginia,” to be submitted to the thesis committee at the College of Charleston/Clemson University joint Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.  

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:45 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    Submitted by Amalia Leifeste, AIA

    Member Carter Hudgins and colleagues from three Charleston organizations documented a rural doctor’s office in Estill, South Carolina left untouched since the 1940s.  Dr. Bertie Johnston passed away unexpectedly in the winter of 1942 (calendars for that year remain on the wall of his office).  His grieving, and perhaps eccentric, widow locked the door to the small office her husband built when he began his practice and walked away from it and its contents.  Photo Courtesy of HABS, Jarob Ortiz

    Seventy years later Susan Hoffius of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) developed an interest in the office as the Johnston estate proceeded through probate with an eye on cataloguing and archiving the medical equipment and pharmaceuticals left in the office. A dispensing physician, Dr. Johnston combined the roles of physician and pharmacist, a practice that offered a kind of medical one-stop shopping for patients in small, rural communities.  In addition to the remarkably intact collection of drugs (thanks to local lore that ‘The State’ had come to the pharmacy and removed ‘all the good stuff’) left on shelves in a narrow pharmacy Johnston added to the rear of his office, Hoffius’ interest expanded to the office, its contents, and its history.  Collaboration between Historic Charleston Foundation, the Clemson / College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and MUSC developed a plan to document the office from multiple professional perspectives before its sale and dispersal of its contents.  Funding from the estate supported Jarob Ortiz, a photographer with the Historic American Building Survey, who recorded the building and its contents on large format film.  Other members of the team captured video of the interior and contents, took measurements for architectural measured drawings, and created an inventory of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment.  This building offers insights, from a clinical perspective, into a small town medical practice in the first half of the twentieth century and is particularly interesting for the window it opens on a medical practice in a segregated community.  Johnston's small office contained segregated waiting rooms, one for white patients, the other for African-Americans, entered from separate entrances sheltered by a plain overhanging portico.  From separate waiting rooms, patients entered a large room that contained examination and treatment spaces that could be curtained off, and Dr. Johnston’s desk.  Architecturally, the building speaks to vernacular adoption of neo-classical idioms at the beginning of the twentieth century and continued use of gable-fronted form to signal office and commercial functions.  

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:40 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    by William A. Flynt, Historic Deerfield, Inc. and Myron O. Stachiw

    Presented at the VAF Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah  June 3, 2017

    During the past several years Myron Stachiw and William Flynt have been engaged in research related to a historic structures report of the Hancock-Mitchell House, a historic dwelling house in Chilmark, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  This project has revealed the complex and often conflicting relationships that exists between local historic heritage and historical fact about buildings, places, and events.   Local knowledge and previous research conducted on the property identified a portion of the building as a 17th century structure, associated with the noted Indian missionary Thomas Mayhew, Jr., or with his son John, also a missionary.  The physical and documentary research conducted by Myron Stachiw for the historic structures report on the building, assisted by a dendrochronology study conducted by William Flynt of Historic Deerfield, dated the building as having been constructed nearly a century later than believed by everyone, from the previous researchers to the local historical commission, the island’s preservation trust, and the property owner (Figure 1).

    Figure 1. The Hancock-Mitchell house in Chilmark, MA., 2014. The red lines indicate the extent of the Phase 1 portion of the house, erected in c.1760. Photograph by The Cooper Group.The goal of the initial dendrochronology study undertaken by Bill Flynt in 2013 was to ascertain the dates of the three major phases of the building’s construction history (Figure 2).  Phase 1 and 2 oak samples could not be successfully dated due to the lack of local oak masters and their inability to align with dated mainland masters, but it was possible to determine that the age difference between Phases 1 and 2 was 42 years.  All physical and documentary evidence of the Phase 2 construction and finishes suggested a date of construction between the 1790s and 1810s, resulting in a date of c. 1750s-60s for the Phase 1 portion of the present building.   The hemlock used in the framing of the Phase 3 rear ell was able to be successfully correlated with mainland hemlock masters as having been felled in 1836.

    Figure 2. Plans of the three phases of construction of the Hancock-Mitchell House. Drawings by The Cooper Group, redrawn by Myron O. Stachiw.In 2015 a number of timbers were replaced during the restoration of the structure, and more of the house framing was exposed.  This lead to a request for further testing, as the conclusions resulting from the HSR and initial dendrochronology study was not accepted by the client and community as conclusive or reliable.  If several other early island buildings could be sampled, the chances of aligning all buildings and getting one or more to successfully date against mainland masters would increase. Three homeowners of early houses agreed to participate, and in November of 2015 additional sampling was undertaken at the three buildings and at the Hancock-Mitchell house (Figure 3).

    Figure 3. Three houses on Martha’s Vineyard where additional dendrochronology sampling was undertaken in November 2015. Photographs by William Flynt.Most of the oak timbers sampled were successfully aligned to create a floating master - one where age differences can be established between samples, but not assigned specific calendar dates.  Comparing the oak data against a number of mainland oak masters, certain samples from each of the structures appeared to align well with specific dates that were offset in conformance with what the floating master displayed.  This revealed that the Butler-Strock house timbers were felled after the 1743 growing season ceased, the Parsonage' s timbers were felled primarily in the winter of 1744/5, and the Phase 2 timbers of the Look-Horwitz house were harvested in the winter of 1786/7 (Figure 4).  At the Hancock-Mitchell house, the new data allowed dating the felling of the Phase 1 timbers to the winter of 1759, with a few felled a year earlier, while Phase 2 timbers came down during 1800 and 1801.

    Figure 4. Felling dates of framing timbers obtained from dendrochronology dating. Photographs by William Flynt, The Cooper Group.While Bill Flynt was 95% confident that the results were accurate, a book titled Pioneer Houses of Martha's Vineyard was published by one of the previous researchers who dated the Hancock-Mitchell house to the 17th c. He continued to maintain the 17th c. date for the house and also claimed similar 17th century dates for two of the other three houses.  This caused Bill to look for yet another way to confirm his results.

    Paul Krusic, the dendrochronologist responsible for getting Flynt involved in this line of work and who remains his mentor, suggested it might be possible to use Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Carbon 14 (AMS14C) testing on one or more samples to see if it could help confirm (or refute) the provisional dating as being correct. With AMS Carbon 14 testing it is possible to narrow down a date to plus/minus 20 years or less.

    Bill Flynt worked with Todd Lange of the University of Arizona AMS Laboratory, who noted that the carbon calibration curve for the northern hemisphere declined throughout the 17th century before reversing course in the early 18th century (Figure 5). This offered the possibility for a two-part analysis that had the potential to eliminate the plus/minus 20 year range, but had never been attempted by the lab. The idea is to select a sample from a ring suspected as being at a unique position (date) on the curve and, if confirmed, to then sample a ring at a second transition point on the curve and hope the results align with expectations. Should the two tests produce results as expected, this would indicate the sample is correctly dated as determined by the dendrochronology analysis.

    Figure 5. Graph of C14 calibration curve, 1550-1950 AD; location of dendrochronology sample taken from the west end girt of the Hancock-Mitchell House. Photographs by William Flynt and Myron O. Stachiw.Working with the Hancock-Mitchell Phase 1 sample that tentatively dated the timber to having been felled in 1759, material was extracted from the ring assumed to date to 1715, as it should correlate with the lowest part of the early 18th century “dip” in the calibration curve.  Figure 6 depicts the results of the sample analysis.   Of importance here are the gray shaded areas indicating where the sample's newly-calibrated Carbon 14 content falls along the calibration curve. Three areas of strength are noted, one in the early 18th century, one in the early 19th century, and one at the turn of the 20th century. Knowing which Phase 1 timber the sample came from, it is safe to dismiss the 20th century spike and most likely the early 19th century show of strength, leaving only the early 18th century alignment, which actually peaks at just about 1715, a promising result.

    Figure 6. Results of the C14 AMS testing conducted at the University of Arizona AMS Laboratory on the ring tentatively dated 1715. Photographs by William Flynt.A second test was initiated using material from the ring 25 years younger (assumed to be 1740) as the Carbon 14 calibration curve rises to 1740 and then meanders for a time. Should the sample reflect this increase in Carbon 14, it would then negate the 19th and 20th century results noted on this report, as in neither case is there as dramatic an increase over the ensuing 25 years.  Figure 7 displays the results of the second analysis indicating the  increased amounts of Carbon 14 in the sample. While there are numerous areas along the Carbon 14 calibration curve where this sample could date to, the strong peak at 1740 is the only place where these results correlate with those of the first test. Thus, the AMS Carbon 14 analyses confirm the correct dating of the sample, which in turn validates the Martha's Vineyard Oak master, and the dating of the houses associated with it.

    Figure 7. Results of the C14 AMS testing conducted at the University of Arizona AMS Laboratory on the ring tentatively dated 1740. Photographs by William Flynt.While dendrochronological methods provide absolute felling dates most of the time, when results are less clear, two- pronged AMS Carbon-14 analysis provides us with a remarkable new tool to significantly improve the accuracy of dating historic buildings.

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:38 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)
    submitted by C. Ian Stevenson

    Left to Right William D. Moore, Samuel Palfreyman, C. Ian Stevenson, Rachel Kirby

    On Saturday, September 9, 2017, a team of four from Boston University’s American and New England Studies Program (Professor William D. Moore [Director], Rachel Kirby [PhD Student], Samuel Palfreyman [PhD Candidate], and C. Ian Stevenson [PhD Candidate]), conducted fieldwork at the extant buildings of the New Hampshire Veterans Association (NHVA) campus at Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. The team, all Vernacular Architecture Forum members, drove from Boston for the day to assist the fellowship recipient/report author, C. Ian Stevenson, conduct research for the second chapter of his dissertation, “Army Tales Told While the Pot Boiled: The Civil War Vacation in Architecture and Landscape, 1880-1910.”

    The still-active New Hampshire Veterans Association (founded 1875) granted access to the team for one six-hour block of time on a date at which the buildings had not yet been closed for the season, but when renters did also not occupy them. Because of this limited access window, Stevenson chose to heavily focus the team’s efforts on two of the eight extant buildings from the site’s late nineteenth century period of significance: the uphill, summer cottage of the 15th NH Volunteer Infantry Regimental Association and the lakefront, shared summer cottage of the 9th and 11th NH Volunteer Infantry Regimental Associations (see Fig. 1). Fig. 1 1902 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Laconia, NH, showing NHVA campus. Extant buildings are circled blue indicates those which the team fully documented and red indicates those which the team did not measure, but photographed and explored.

    Based on earlier reconnaissance visits, Stevenson chose the former due to its relative lack of modification after initial construction (1888) as a representative of the “typical” regimental cottage on the site at its height (Fig. 2a).

    Fig. 2a 15th NH Regimental Cottage

    He chose the latter, a building shared by two regimental associations (1888), to see if the use of space resembled that of individual unit structures despite its larger outward appearance and massing (Fig. 2b). 

    Fig. 2b, 9th-11th NH Regimental Cottage

    As described in the fellowship application, the team used the methodology outlined in Thomas Carter’s and Elizabeth Collins Cromley’s An Invitation to Vernacular Architecture: A Guide to the Study of Ordinary Buildings and Landscapes to document these two buildings extensively. The team used traditional and laser tape measures, calling out incremental measurements to a team member, who recorded the values on a pre-drawn, rough outline on graph paper (Fig. 3). Fig. 3 Measuring and producing drawings of the 9th11th NH Regimental Cottage porch.

    This work most importantly produced measured field drawings (Fig. 4), from which finished floor plans can be produced in AutoCAD at a later date. 

    Fig. 4 Field-drawn second floor plan with detailed incremental measurements, 9th11th NH Regimental Cottage.In addition to making measured drawings of the interior and exterior spaces, the team made extensive photographic documentation of exterior and interior finishes (Fig. 5), recording observations of periods of architectural intervention in the early 20th century (kitchens) and in the 1970s/1980s for bathroom remodels and additions. 

    Fig. 5 Nineteenth century door knob and plate, second floor porch door, 9th11th NH Regimental Cottage. In true VAF fashion, the team scurried up ladders into unfinished, mouse-drop-laden attics and other spaces (Fig. 6). Stevenson will analyze the floor plans, observational field notes, and photography as he prepares his relevant dissertation chapter.

    For the remaining buildings on the site, the team conducted other field observations and photographic documentation. This proved invaluable in establishing future questions that construction materials suggested. 

    Fig. 6 Unfinished attic space, 9th11th NH Regimental Cottage.

    For example, at the Cavalry Headquarters building (immediately adjacent the 9th/11th NH), the team observed a hybrid timberframe/balloon frame construction method that also featured iron reinforcing tie-rods (Fig. 7). This combination helped create a massive open space around the central tripartite fireplace to allow for large gatherings of veterans around a central “campfire” experience alluded to in written primary sources. Thus, the fieldwork helps document and explain the ways architecture facilitated the social gatherings intended in the buildings.

    Fig. 7 Timber-framed joinery and metal reinforcing, Cavalry Cottage.As stated hopefully in the fellowship application, the collaborative effort yielded great results among the team. All three students learned about field observations and received guidance in the types of questions to ask of vernacular buildings from Prof. William D. Moore. C. Ian Stevenson provided the context to the site and initial questions for the team to consider. Sam Palfreyman brought his experience of documenting buildings from his internship at HABS. Rachel Kirby brought a folklorist’s eye and identified key details as well as documented the documenting. Thus, the Ridout Fellowship not only furthered Stevenson’s dissertation work, but bolstered collaboration within the VAF and showcased the value of fieldwork to the site’s owners, who curiously await copies of the material produced from the day’s fieldwork. They hope the work accomplished can help their public interpretation and preservation of the site. For these reasons, the author remains grateful to the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship Committee for its award.

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:35 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    The VAF-NE Chapter spent a September day touring the historic and contemporary immigrant workers' communities of Montville and Taftville in southeastern Connecticut. This fall tour paired the 19th century immigrant textile mill workers' housing in Taftville with contemporary Chinese casino workers' housing in neighboring Montville and explored themes of architecture and order through cultural housing practices and public policies, as well as corporate paternalism and neoliberalism. The day included visits to the Ponemah Mill, once the largest cotton manufactury in the country, and walks around suburban subdivisions where Chinese immigrant casino workers have converted single family homes into multifamily communities, thus transforming the cultural landscape according to their pragmatic values and cultural traditions.

     The New England Chapter's 2018 Annual Meeting--Vernacular at Mid Century, 1930-1970--is slated for Saturday, March 24 in Sturbridge, MA.

    Interested in the New England Chapter?  You can find more information here.  

    Interested in starting your own VAF chapter?  You can find more information here.

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:30 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    In order to provide more access to all the wonderful field schools offered by VAF members and affiliates, we have added a new section to the website under the “Learning” tab that will be continually updated with news of all of these opportunities.  So please send any field school announcements as available to the VAN editor.  And don’t forget to share the link to our website to anyone considering field schools.  It is not only a great way for people to get experience and gain skills, but also a great way to introduce them to VAF.

    Christine Henry, VAN editor

  • 17 Jan 2018 12:25 PM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

    To honor founding member Orlando Ridout V, who died in 2013, the Vernacular Architecture Forum has established a fieldwork fellowship in his name. Orlando, a mentor to so many of us, asked that donations in his memory be made to the VAF to support students’ and VAF members’  fieldwork training and activities. To fulfill his request, the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship was created, combining contributions to the Ridout memorial fund with the former Fund for Fieldwork, established by a generous gift from long-time VAF member Thomas Carter in 2012.

    The Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship will support and encourage students and VAF members in their field-based research and documentation projects, and in their efforts to learn and conduct fieldwork through apprenticeships, field schools, and continuing education and training projects.

    The guidelines for the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship allow all VAF members, as well as students participating in field school programs, to apply to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee for monies to support their field-based projects and training opportunities.

    Support is available in five categories:

    1. Field school directors (VAF members) may apply for grants of up to $1000 to support their programs and/or provide financial aid to participants.
    2. Students participating in field schools or other training opportunities may apply for stipends of up to $500 to attend such programs (prior VAF membership not required);
    3. VAF members may apply for grants of up to $500 to support continuing education and professional training activities.
    4. VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 for support of fieldwork activities related to the pursuit of academic degrees;
    5. VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 to support fieldwork activities not related to fulfillment of academic degree requirements;

    Projects that explore and document cultural diversity are especially welcome.

    Grants to Field School Directors  

    Grants of up to $1000 are available to field schools organized and directed by VAF members.  These awards may be applied to program costs and/or stipends to participants at the discretion of the field school director.

    Application Process 

    Completed applications by field school directors should be submitted electronically to the Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee between January1 and December 1, 2018, to support programs that will be run during 2018 or over the winter intersession period of 2018-2019; a decision will be rendered in a timely manner after receipt of the request.  The application should define the scope, methodology, objectives, and expected outcomes of the field school. A final report will be submitted to the Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the field school describing the outcomes and impacts of the field school; if the funds were used to provide scholarships to individual participants, a list of the students who received the scholarships and amounts awarded should be included.  In addition, individual field school participants who received scholarship awards from the Field School Director should submit a brief report (up to three written pages, images, video, etc.) directly to the Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the field school discussing how the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship enabled them to obtain an understanding of fieldwork and how it will contribute to their future work/career. 

    Grants to students participating in field schools or other training opportunities

    Grants of up to $500 are available to students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs who will be participating in field schools or other training opportunities.  Prior membership in the VAF is not required.  A one-year student membership to the VAF will be provided to grantees if they are not already members.

    Application Process 

    Applications should be submitted electronically to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee by the student applying to or accepted to a field school during 2018 or during the winter intersession of the 2018-2019 academic year.  Applications should be received by the Committee at least one month prior to the start of the field school.  The cut-off date for receiving applications is December 1, 2018.  The application must include a description of the field school/training program to which the applicant has applied (name and location of the program, director, dates); a description of what expenses the grant will cover; the applicant’s CV; a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, field school director, or employer; copy of the letter/email of admission to the field school; and a brief essay on what the applicant hopes to learn, why the particular training is important, and how it might influence the applicant’s later academic and professional career.  If the applicant applies to the VAF for support to attend a field school prior to receiving notification of admission, such notification must be submitted before the grant can be awarded.

    The grantee will provide a brief, but substantive, report (up to three written pages, photo essay, video, or other presentation) to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the field school about the field school experience and how it has benefitted the grantee and increased his/her understanding of the importance of fieldwork as a research activity.

    Grants to VAF members to support continuing education and professional training activities.  

    VAF members may apply for grants of up to $500 to support continuing education and professional training related to fieldwork.

    Application Process 

    Applications should be submitted electronically to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee by the applicant at least one month prior to the start of the program.  Applications will be accepted between January 1 and December 1, 2018.  The application must include a description of the program to which the applicant has applied (name and location of the program, director, dates); a description of what expenses the grant will cover; the applicant’s CV; copy of the letter/email of admission to the program; and a brief essay on what the applicant hopes to learn, why the particular training is important, and how it might influence and/or further the applicant’s career.  If the applicant applies to the VAF for support to attend an educational/training program prior to receiving notification of admission, such notification must be submitted before the grant can be awarded.

    The grantee will provide a brief, but substantive, report (up to three written pages, photo essay, video, or other presentation) to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the educational/training program describing how it has benefitted the grantee,  increased his/her understanding of the importance of fieldwork as a research activity or ability to conduct such work, and the future benefits that the acquired knowledge/experience will bring to their work.  If possible, be specific about how the new knowledge will be applied.

    Grants to VAF members for support of fieldwork activities related to the pursuit of academic degrees    

    VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 for support of fieldwork activities that are related to the achievement of an academic degree.

    Application Process

    Applications should be submitted electronically to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee by the applicant between January 1 and December 1, 2018, and at least one month prior to the start of the project.  The application must include a description of the fieldwork project to be undertaken (nature of the resource(s) to be studied, methodology, expected outcomes and impact, project timeline); a description of expenses the grant will cover; the applicant’s CV; and a letter of support from a faculty member or academic advisor.

    The grantee will provide a brief, but substantive, report (up to three written pages, photo essay, video, or other presentation) to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the project.  The report should describe the contributions made by the project with regard to fieldwork methods, deeper investigation of specific resources, and professional development of the participants.

    Grants to VAF members for support of fieldwork not related to pursuit of an academic degree  

    VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 for support of non-academic research projects involving fieldwork related to a publication, exhibition, etc., or for preservation-related fieldwork such as documentation of threatened resources. 

    Application Process

    Applications should be submitted electronically to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee by the applicant between January 1 and December 1, 2018, at least one month prior to the start of the fieldwork project.  The application must include a brief essay describing the resource(s) to be studied, the reasons for undertaking the fieldwork, methodology to be employed, expected outcomes and impacts; the applicant’s CV; if partnering with an organization, please describe the organization and include a letter from the organization describing their involvement and any contributions they might make (financial or otherwise); at least one letter of support for the project.

    The grantee will provide a brief, but substantive, report (up to three written pages, photo essay, video, or other presentation) to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee within three months of the completion of the project describing the outcomes and impacts of the project on the resource, community, and/or their own understanding of and ability to conduct fieldwork.  The report should describe the contributions made by the project with regard to fieldwork methods, deeper investigation of specific resources, and professional development of the participants.

    Reports submitted by grantees to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee maybe submitted at the discretion of the Committee Members for posting on the VAF web page, blog, or newsletter (VAN).

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