UO to host story gathering Jan. 29 for ‘People’s State of the Union’

January 21, 2016

The UO community is invited to participate January 29 in a national “story circle” to create a “People’s State of the Union.” The local event, to take place on the UO campus, is part of an effort to collect stories from citizens for the next President of the United States to hear.

John FennThis event will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Many Nations Longhouse at the University of Oregon. It will be facilitated by John Fenn, associate professor in the UO Arts Administration Program and a newly appointed Cultural Agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture. This event is free and open to the public.

Between January 23-31, individuals and organizations across the US will host story circles. Last year more than 150 communities signed up to contribute to the People’s State of the Union by sharing their own take on the state of our union. The annual project seeks to weave a collective cultural narrative from local perspectives gathered in homes, schools, houses of worship, and community organizations.

“Sharing a story about your experience of community and culture here in Eugene will put your voice in the democratically driven dialogue that is the People’s State of the Union,” Fenn said.

The full “Poetic Address to the Nation” will be broadcast live by the US Department of Arts and Culture ‪on February 20, details for which are pending.

As Cultural Agent, Fenn plans to facilitate several events and projects throughout 2016, ideally partnering with Eugene Cultural Services and a number of other on- and off-campus organizations and individuals.

The US Department of Arts and Culture is a "people powered" civic engagement initiative focused on community arts and culture participation.

Fenn holds a PhD in folklore and ethnomusicology and has conducted field research on popular music and youth identity, folks arts and material culture, the cultural history of African-American communities in Eugene-Springfield, and the use of wireless technology in cultural heritage work.