Delta Symposium returns to in-person format

by George Jared ([email protected]) 342 views 

Musical history in the South, lynching, ghost stories, folklore, and many other topics will be broached during the Delta Symposium that will be in-person on the Arkansas State University campus April 14-16. “Commemoration and Reunion in the South” is the theme for this year’s symposium, which will be the 27th meeting.

Sessions will be held in the Carl R. Reng Student Union and are open to the public. In addition, some sessions will be online. To access the online presentations, one must pre register in advance by contacting Dr. Gregory Hansen, symposium co-chair, [email protected].

Participants will present research that explores how history and expressive culture are commemorated through literature, scholarship and local activities.

“The Delta Symposium committee is coordinating presentations on a variety of forms of commemoration. The theme will be explored from a range of disciplines,” Hansen said. “Presenters will explore how historical events are remembered as well as erased from historical memory. Presentations will also explore how the significant past is represented in the tangible preservation of our built environment.”

Research presentations on the work of the Arkansas Folk and Tradition Arts Program will kick off the event on April 14. This session will be followed by a presentation on commemorations of ASU through yearbooks and newspaper publications.

Sessions that follow include presentations on a range of topics, including ghost stories, lynching, and musical expression. The university’s Heritage Studies Ph.D. program will feature a special presentation by Janis F. Kearney on the work of the Celebrate Maya! Project. The event this day will conclude with a reading by writers Mary Troy and Claude Wilkinson at 7 p.m. at the Bradbury Art Museum in Fowler Center.

Sessions on April 15 will feature researchers and writers from across the region. Panelists will include historians, literary scholars, folklorists and researchers who will explore topics ranging from scholarship on commemoration of African American history, scholarship on blues music, and the preservation of historical sites. Friday’s events include the symposium’s keynote address by Andrew Scheiber, a professor at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. This year’s symposium also includes an open-mic and art share event that begins at 7 p.m. in the Reng Student Union auditorium.

Creative writing by writers and writing teachers from across the state will open the final day of the symposium. An additional panel focuses on commemorations of community and individual accomplishments with the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Symposium concludes with the Arkansas Roots Music Festival. KASU’s Marty Scarbrough will serve as master of ceremonies for this event in Jonesboro’s City, Water and Light Park.

The United Voices Gospel Choir will open the festival and subsequent acts include folk, Americana, and bluegrass musicians. Caleb Ryan Martin and Randal Morton take the stage at 2 p.m., with Ozark folk musician Grace Stormont following their set. The show will close with the bluegrass and Americana music of The Gravel Yard.