by Grace Barkley
Colleen Heine is a woman of many talents. During her studies in graphic design at the University of Kansas, she took up the fiddle and a love of bluegrass and Americana music, now playing in local the Savannah band, The Accomplices. Music continued to be a large part of her life, as she went on to lead the non-profit Folk School of St. Louis for 7 years post-graduation. While this was her ideal job, “at the intersection of design, music and social impact,” Heine looked to SCAD and its programs to broaden her understanding of design as a tool for leadership and change.
This week, the national EPIC Conference is being hosted in Savannah and Colleen will present her work “Scene and Unscene: Revealing the Value of a Local Music Scene in Savannah, GA.” This study is part of Heine’s thesis and a broader discipline of ethnographic study. Ethnography, as defined by Heine, is “an approach to studying groups of people, gathering information that cannot be studied in quantitative research.” The majority of Heine’s work revolves around interviewing major players in the Savannah scene, gleaning from them thoughts on what will bolster a burgeoning music community. Heine has some ideas as to what could help, but she urgently reminds me there is no prescriptive answer. There is a lack of venues for the 21 and under crowd, a large part of Savannah’s populous due to SCAD, and no solid mid-size venue. These suggestions could help Savannah from being skipped over by many up-and-coming acts that cannot fill the likes of the Civic Center.
“You don’t design for people, you design with [them],” says Heine. This idea is at the heart of her research as she looks to the community to create solutions. This sense is also at the center of this week’s EPIC Conference, where leaders from many national companies come to hear other ethnographers, anthropologists and designers speak on the topic of renewal. The final keynote presentation by Philip Delves Broughton at the Lucas Theatre is open to the public on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m.
Tags: Epic Conference, Ethnography, Lucas Theatre, Music, SCAD, The Accomplices
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