Feature Friday: Harrisonburg 360 Podcast – Season 2 Launch

Posted on: April 16, 2021

Join us for a virtual launch on April 28, 2021, to celebrate Season 2 of a podcast featuring the stories of immigrants in the Shenandoah Valley: Harrisonburg 360: Real People. Real Stories. One Community

JMU students in Dr. Allison Fagan’s English 360 class have been working diligently and passionately for the last two spring semesters to create the Harrisonburg 360 podcast – a digital project that elevates the stories of past and present immigrants in the Shenandoah Valley. The Spring 2021 season focuses on stories of local business owners and how they were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The original podcast series was featured in a video by JMU Communications and Marketing.

With the guidance and support of their teacher and multiple experts from the JMU Libraries, the students explored previously collected oral histories that have been archived in JMU Libraries’ Special Collections, learned about podcasting and storytelling, and applied theoretical concepts from the course to create the podcast series. Season 2 will soon be available through all of your favorite podcasting platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts!

Professor Fagan commented, “In many of my English courses, the focus is on storytelling by individuals and groups of people whose voices have historically been marginalized because of their race or citizenship status. We talk a lot about who has the power to tell a story, as well as who has the power to make sure that story is heard (or, in too many cases, not heard). The Special Collections at JMU Libraries has always enabled students to have a deeper understanding of those concepts, and in this case, it was the presence of local immigrant oral histories right at our fingertips that made the project possible. Starting with existing oral histories, students were able to explore and then learn by example, in turn conducting their own oral history interviews with Harrisonburg immigrants. In putting together their podcast episodes, mixing past and present recordings, the ultimate goal was for students to learn the difficult contours of agency in storytelling. They had to think about how they might amplify the voices of immigrant storytellers without speaking for them. I believe they accomplished that and more.”

Engaging in a digital project like this is no small task, especially when groups were no longer able to work face-to-face – but in spite of the upheaval of the semester, these students and their teacher remained committed to completing this creative community-focused project. And perhaps more than ever, we all need to be reminded of the stories that come from all voices in our community.

The virtual launch event on April 28th, at 7pm will showcase the students’ work from this semester and offer opportunities for conversation and discussion among members of the community in hopes of expanding perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in Harrisonburg. Registration is required.

Learn more

Visit the Immigrant Harrisonburg website to learn more about the Harrisonburg 360 podcast and other JMU cross-disciplinary collaborations with the Harrisonburg immigrant community

For more Feature Friday stories from JMU Libraries, visit our website or search #JMUFeatureFriday on Twitter.

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