In Isolation: Audio portraits from spring 2020

By Sadie Housberg and Hattie LeFavour

“Springtime at Middlebury College typically finds students packing away their parkas, cuffing their jeans, and finding any excuse to bask in the wavering spring sunshine — perhaps too eagerly for the still-frigid weather. But this past semester was one like no other.”

Last spring, when students enrolled in Erin Davis’s Film and Media Culture course, Podcasting the Past: Leisure Time and Middlebury College, they expected to spend a good deal of time in the College archives, researching student leisure activities across Middlebury’s history. The idea was that they would then create podcast episodes that would fuse contemporary commentary with historical examples.

However, when the pandemic hit and the campus closed in March, the students discovered that rather than extracting material from the archives they would be contributing to it. 

Middlebury Magazine and The Middlebury Campus are thrilled to collaborate on a joint publishing venture in which we will share student work that was created for this course and has found a home in the College archives.The Campus’ podcast episode is produced and narrated by Editor-at-Large Sadie Housberg ’21 and features work from both now-graduated and current students Adian Acosta ’20.5, Benjamin Rivitz, Olivia Green ’20, Benjamin Barrett ’20.5, Olivia Bravo ’20, Aman Deol ’20, Jacob Shashoua ’20 and Emily Ballou ’21, in order of appearance.

Professor Davis gave each student prompts to describe their life at home in the early days of sheltering in place; the result is a compilation of self-portraits, life in isolation. The Campus is presenting all of the portraits at once while Middlebury Magazine is presenting each individually and serialized. They will be posting to the magazine’s Dispatch channel through August.