President's Column

18 Apr 2016 6:00 PM | Christine R Henry

by Gretchen Buggeln

In just a few weeks, from June 1-4, we’ll be gathered in Durham, North Carolina, for the annual meeting of the VAF. We’ll begin hospitably with a Wednesday night reception at the Durham Convention Center and a plenary lecture by our very own Catherine W. Bishir, who will orient us to her beloved North Carolina piedmont region. Following Catherine, Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, will talk about Durham’s remarkable transformation over the last twenty years thanks in large part to the repurposing of the city’s industrial landscape. I’m anticipating a spectacular program of tours on Thursday and Friday, thoughtfully planned by our conference committee chaired by Marvin Brown and Claudia Brown and guaranteed to hold up the VAF tradition of good fellowship, excellent local food, music, libations, and, of course, a wealth of wonderful buildings. You can read about these tours on the VAF website at

I’d like to highlight a few of the events on Saturday, our day to engage each other’s work in formal papers sessions and colloquia. There will be ten papers sessions that each include three twenty-minute presentations followed by Q&A. The list of speakers and topics on the Saturday program can be found here:  In addition to these sessions and the book tables, there will be four new programs. First, a “User’s Guide to the VAF,” especially recommended for newcomers to our organization. VAF representatives will share ideas about how to get involved, give papers at conferences, develop membership chapters, propose conferences, and get published in our journal, newsletter, or book series. Second, a lunchtime organizational session for graduate students interested in a new grad student VAF chapter. Third, a lunchtime historic preservation program, “From Analysis to Action: Putting Vernacular Architecture Studies to Work,” led by innovative local and regional preservationists. And fourth, a “Field Notes” session, in which eight speakers will give short presentations about their current research methods and findings. Saturday promises to be a lively and fun day of scholarly and professional exchange and encouragement.

And after all that, who wouldn’t want to celebrate with a party? Our annual meeting and banquet will be at the Durham Armory, and I am especially looking forward to hearing Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos with 86-year old special guest John Dee Holeman play the blue – both traditional piedmont blues and the kind we can dance to.  Check out Mel and his band here: !

 Looking forward to seeing y’all in Durham.


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