Monday, June 6

SFA ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP REPORT #4: NIKO TONKS

Photograph by Niko Tonks

As part of our recent oral history workshop, participants were asked to create blog posts--short pieces in response to any part of their time spent in Oxford. We will be featuring their submissions here over the course of the next few weeks.

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I learned a great many things in my (short) time at the SFA, not least of which is that bacon jam is actually as good as it sounds. But I think my favorite aspect of the oral history workshop was being reminded, in the classroom and out of it, the importance of being connected to your surroundings. When practiced in your backyard (in this case, the South as a whole), oral history can't help but make you more aware of the networks of people and stories that exist in every town, city, state, or region.

Living in the city, it's easy, sometimes, to forget how these networks support and animate community. In close quarters with close to a million people, there are so many things happening at any given moment that trends seem to take on lives and inertia of their own.

After absorbing as many stories from the SFA as I possibly could in a week, and spending as much time as I could wandering the streets of Oxford, I feel more ready than ever to begin to do my part in shining the spotlight on the people behind the food.

Also, I felt and odd "close encounters of the third kind" pull to the Oxford water tower the entire time I was in town, which resulted in probably a dozen pictures of it. The one here was taken from the porch at Main Squeeze on University.

NIKO TONKS
American Studies, University of Texas - Austin, TX