Students from Erin Chen’s three Washington State history classes created Immigration Portraits, a series of audio stories based on interviews the students conducted with each other about leaving their home countries to come to America. They talked about why they came to the US, what they had left behind, and how their lives had changed. Jack Straw’s artist team trained the students to conduct interviews and helped them write questions that would bring out the students’ individual stories. Producer Jennie Cecil Moore showed them the interview process by interviewing Daniella Drader, the school’s enrollment specialist, about leaving Romania to come to the United States. Jack Straw artists Jennie Cecil Moore, Daniel Guenther, and Rachel Spence each worked with a group of students to develop questions and get ready for their interviews. Our engineers CJ Lazenby, Daniel Guenther, and Jake Muir worked with the students to record their interviews.
With the interviews recorded, the students worked with our teaching artists to select highlights from the interviews and write their narration. Our voice coaches Meg McLynn, Christine Brown, and Andrew McGinn coached the students in reading their narration out loud, providing the students with both language and performance support. Our engineers then joined the students and voice coaches to record their narration. Interview segments and narration were then edited and mixed in the Jack Straw studios to create the final audio stories. Students also created maps of the interviewees’ home countries and took photographs to document the process.