Songs of Memory

Once a year I send an overview of the activities that have unfolded in the Songs of Memory Project over the past cycle of seasons. Not using any other form of social media, this is my sole means of connecting with you wherever in the world’s four corners you may be. Through this Newsletter 2016, it is hoped that you feel involved in this archival work and experience a sense of the integrity and wonder of the mountain cultures I have come to know. Thank you for taking time to look over the varied events and for sharing this newsletter with colleagues, family, and friends.

Field Trips
In order to gather final research, photographs, and film footage for my upcoming Hmong Songs of Memory Book and Ethnographic Film, I made thirteen field trips to eight Hmong villages in Thailand and Laos since August 2015. During these visits, I was able to witness and document age-old ceremonies and practices, ranging from weddings to funerals to healing ceremonies; the fabrication of textiles to a martial arts display; and numerous musical performances by masterful musicians. Out of the hundreds of photos I took, I leave you with a single shot from each village to give a taste of my journey.
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This year also offered me the opportunity to curate three distinct exhibitions—selected from the Songs of Memory Collections of photographs, textiles, musical instruments, and artifacts—for three very different events. “Cultural Crossroads of the Golden Triangle” was showcased at the international conference, “Communication/Culture and the Sustainable Development Goals,” at Chiang Mai University, in December 2015. Several weeks later, the Hmong Association of Thailand and Hmong Nationalities Organization from Minnesota sponsored the conference, “Adapting to a Changing Culture for Hmong,” at CMU. It was a pleasure to create a display for this gathering and to meet so many Hmong colleagues.

In February 2016, I was invited to curate, “The Splendor of Myanmar’s Traditional Arts,” at Mandalay University, Myanmar, which reopened three years ago after having been closed for the previous twenty-five years. This groundbreaking event, marking the launch of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Anthropology of Mandalay University and the Center for Ethnic Studies and Development of Chiang Mai University, Thailand, was a remarkable success. Though mounted for only two days, this display of extraordinary age-old Burmese and tribal handcrafts drew an astonishing number of visitors—nearly 1,000 students and faculty members of diverse ethnic backgrounds, from an array of academic institutions: Mandalay University, Yadanabon University, the University for the Development of the National Races of the Union in Sagaing, the University of Education in Sagaing, and the general public. It was an enormous honor to be a part of this project and to work with such fine colleagues and students from Myanmar.
1. Cultural Crossroads of the Golden Triangle
Communication/Culture and Sustainable Development:
Challenges for a New Generation
17-21 December 2015
Chiang Mai University
To view a detailed exhibition layout, please click here
Songs of Memory
2. Hmong Threads of Life International Hmong Symposium
Hmong Association of Thailand and
Hmong National Organization of Minnesota 
2-3 January 2016
Chiang Mai University
To view a detailed exhibition layout, please click here
Songs of Memory
3. The Splendor of Myanmar’s Traditional Arts
An Exhibition of Photographs, Textiles, and Crafts
Curated by Victoria Vorreiter
A Collaboration between the Universities of Mandalay and Chiang Mai
7-8 March 2016
Mandalay University Research Center
Mandalay, Myanmar
To view a detailed exhibition layout, please click here
Songs of Memory

Upcoming Events
At last, after six years in the mountains and in my studio, I am pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the Hmong Songs of Memory Book, Film, and Exhibition at Tamarind Village Resort, running 16 December 2016 to 30 April 2017 in Chiang Mai. (A special news flash will be sent closer to the date. Hold that thought.) So if you will be visiting northern Thailand to celebrate any of the various New Years (Western, Hmong, Chinese, or Thai), please join us. Welcome.
Songs of Memory

It is with great respect and sincere gratitude that I thank the following donors 
for their unfailing belief in the Hmong Songs of Memory archival project this year.

Leslie and David Bosch
The Frankel Family Foundation
Liza Zinola
Mary Averill
Kristin Richardson

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has accepted
The Music of the Golden Triangle project in its Fiscal Sponsorship Program.
IDA Letter of Endorsement

Please consider supporting "The Music of the Golden Triangle” at the IDA site:

To see more about the Songs of Memory project, please visit:
Songs of Memory