One of the ways Traditional Arts Indiana connects with its constituents around the state is by conducting survey fieldwork. The survey approach places an individual TAI researcher in a designated Indiana county to work with residents over the course of several weeks. During this time, the researcher seeks to learn about and document a wide swath of cultural practices active in the area. Potential topics of survey fieldwork include music, food, art, recreation, and other practices through which people express themselves.
Survey researchers meet area residents on a daily basis, “ask around” with them about local activities, and follow up on various contact ideas in order to organize fieldwork visits. On these visits, the researcher works with survey participants to represent a specific cultural practice through interviewing, photography, and other media documentation. Completed surveys are available to the public through Indiana University and at a local repository within the survey county. The creation of this resource helps TAI establish communication with area residents, and generates opportunities for the inclusion of the county in future TAI publications and programming.
This new area of the Traditional Arts Indiana website is under development as an additional outlet for survey fieldwork. Here, TAI researchers will be posting participant profiles and other fieldwork excerpts drawn from recent county surveys, including material from current projects in Steuben, Washington, and Floyd Counties. Check back often to learn more about the survey process and its results.