Note from the Editor

05 Oct 2016 5:00 PM | Christine R Henry

This Fall issue of VAN includes announcements for many great opportunities including conferences and scholarships across the many disciplines that VAF members represent.  We also have calls for VAF award nominations and papers for the upcoming annual conference in Salt Lake to be held in the summer of 2017.  The member news section is packed with updates from members about the great work they have been doing in the field and classroom.  Finally, the three featured essays in this issue are from 2016 awardees reflecting on their experiences in Durham . 

These essays have inspired me to reflect on my experiences with VAF.  As I prepared to start my second year of teaching I worked to develop an upper level undergraduate seminar on vernacular architecture and was reminded of my first introduction to vernacular studies.  It was just over 15 years ago that I attended the Poplar Forest Field School, taught by long-time VAF member Travis McDonald where my interest and enthusiasm for fieldwork was kindled.  This transformative experience gave me not only the opportunity to see the ongoing work of restoration at Poplar Forest, but to get hands-on experience in the field measuring, analyzing, and documenting a building in Lynchburg.  As I designed my new course, I wanted to cultivate that same sense of excitement and awe I felt in delving deeply into the multiple layers of material and culture in a building.   I perused the VAF syllabus exchange to find readings and design projects that challenge my students to expand their skills and thinking.  I also reflected on the numerous informal conversations I have had with members over the years on bus rides to intriguing sites and over meals in inspiring spaces and was amazed by all of the generosity of the VAF community.  In the end, I designed a class that is both grounded in VAF and also my own personal approach to the topics that I hope will inspire my students to find and explore their own interests.  Thank you VAF for providing a place to challenge, inspire, and share.  I would love it if you would share your reflections on VAF experiences, either through the comments section below or by sending an essay to me at vaneditor@vaf.web.  Hope you enjoy the issue! Christine

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