PR for People Monthly September 2017 - Page 34

Amspacher: These opportunities came about because of my role in building partnerships and credibility for the museum. I have no training in documentary work, but I learned early in the museum’s development how important capturing voices (oral and written) are to keeping heritage alive.

My strategy was to match the documentary professionals with the source, and to serve as a gatekeeper of sorts. I understood the local peoples’ fears and doubts because I shared those same protective feelings, so I took on the job of finding the right (trustworthy) people to help us tell our story. Pretty quickly folks began to come to me, but again, it took time (and sometimes a lot of convincing) to make sure their intentions were in keeping with what our museum community goals were. And this is still the case.

We (me, museum staff, community members and tradition-bearers) have worked with some terrific people along the way and we continue to look for partners who will come and help us “tell our story our way.” That is key—telling it our way. We run from those who come to “interpret” us; we do not need or want that. This heritage is ours and we are taking responsibility for sharing it our way, and I believe that has been what has been the trademark for the authenticity of Core Sound’s work which has been recognized by the North Carolina Humanities Council, the NC Arts Council, the Smithsonian and others.

Faktorovich: Barbara, what do you do in your current post of “Adjunct Scientist” at the Duke University Marine Lab? You previously taught as an instructor and a Visiting Assistant Professor since 1989, but now your title has changed to “Scientist.” Your PhD is in Anthropology, so please explain how you ended up in a harder scientific field, and what tasks you are asked to perform for it.

Garrity-Blake: The term “scientist” includes social scientists, which is what anthropologists are. At the Duke Marine Lab, I teach an annual course in Marine Fisheries Policy. I try to instill an ethnographic approach, getting students in the field to interview coastal stakeholders of all stripes. We work on observation skills and interviewing techniques, as well as getting a feel for the social context from which fisheries conflicts and policies arise. Some of my students are future fisheries managers, and I cannot stress the importance of “people skills” enough!

Faktorovich: Your publications list you as the Co-Principal Investigator for North Carolina Sea Grant-funded studies, with titles like, “Next Generation Coastal Communities: Leveraging Social Capital to Build Local Leadership Capacity.” Most readers probably glaze over when they read this title because it’s unclear what “local leadership capacity” practically means. Can you explain in very practical terms what this or other research projects you have been involved in are all about?

Garrity-Blake: Yes, it’s easy to glaze over regarding such jargon! Our “next generation” project is simply identifying young fishermen (including women) who are bound and determined to make a living on the water. This is a rare breed these days, given the “graying of the fleet” and the fact that we have lost about half our commercial fishermen to other jobs in the last twenty years. The challenges of entering the field of fishing are daunting: rising operating expenses, flat market prices, changes in the distribution of fish due to warming waters, tightening regulations, and political environment unfriendly to fishermen.

So we are asking: how can fishermen more meaningfully engage in fisheries policymaking and research? What can be done to strengthen communication and a peer-to-peer network within the industry? What needs to change to instill economic and political stability so that fishermen can invest in their business with confidence? Who are the future leaders of the industry, and what skill sets do they require to succeed? In short, we are working with young fishermen and their mentors on ways to better the industry’s standing given a rapidly-changing landscape.

Faktorovich: Under what circumstances did the two of you work together for the first time? Do you cross each other’s paths frequently as you both work on local communities and the environment in North Carolina? Are there many other women working in your fields in the area where you two live? If not, has it been difficult to move forward in male-dominated fields?

Garrity-Blake: As far as really working together, I think Karen and I first got in the trenches over an environmental movement known as “Down East Tomorrow” during the housing boom of 2005-2007. Our paths also intertwined during an Outer Banks community development initiative Karen led known as Saltwater Connections, and we’ve crisscrossed into fisheries. A little known secret: women are the true powerhouses in the world of fisheries. Fishermen’s wives have served as the backbone of the industry forever. “Ladies auxiliaries” to North Carolina’s trade organization, the North Carolina Fisheries Association, formed in the early 1990s, and proved to be a force to reckoned with in the halls of the General Assembly and fisheries hearings. I could go on and on…

Amspacher: Barbara has been here a long, long time and I’ve been here forever, so we have been involved with the same projects all along the way, especially around fisheries issues and local community work. Barbara has contracted with the museum on many oral history projects over the past 10+ years and that relationship has grown over the years to include regional heritage tourism projects, grant-funded exhibitions and events. We are