Frontier Fellowship: Jess Lamar Reece Holler
June 28, 2019
Jess Lamar Reece Holler is a community-based applied folklorist, oral historian, public historian, exhibit co-curator, and multi-media producer based in Columbus and Caledonia, OH. Her projects imagine cultural work for social change at the intersections of food, health, environmental justice, place and memory, with a particular attention to vernacular perspectives and beliefs and activism around ecology, everyday toxicity, and toxic heritages. She is the Project Director and Founder of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s Growing Right Oral History Project, documenting the rise of organic farming in Ohio as an intersectional social movement, and experimenting with multi-modal ways to engage the public and cultivate transformative listening from oral history materials. Jess leads Caledonia Northern Folk Studios, an oral history and folklife consultancy rooted in community-collaborative practice and co-curated oral history-to-exhibition workflows. Both projects engage questions of site-based installation and the role of place, context and ecology as participants in documentation, exhibition and reception. Jess is working to complete Growing Right’s first experimental short film, on ecological farming in the fracklands of Eastern Ohio.
“After so much deep, place-based work in the places I am from, I’m thrilled to come to Green River and explore if and how to do ecologically-sensitive, deep-listening work in a community where I’m an outsider. Much of my work explores the complex attachments people have to place — especially when their places have been impacted by environmental trauma, redevelopment, outmigration, extractive industry, or forced removals. I’m especially curious to explore these dynamics in Green River, and to continue working towards a community-collaborative ecological documentary practice that seeks to amplify and make public what we’d ordinarily keep as private memories and experiences with space, place and environment. I’m also very interested in site-specific work and the particular environment(s) of Green River as locations for exhibition, encounter and exchange of this and other work.”