Scott Candage, a new graduate of the Individualized MA program, explains to his local paper, The Working Waterfront, that his graduate thesis project looked deeply at community narratives that tell the community what it is and what stories matter most. He explained that he hoped “this memory project facilitates an emotional, rather than just intellectual connection” with the personal stories he presents. “Hard Stone, Hard Choices: An Arts & History-Informed Memorial Installation,” Scott’s thesis project, blurred “….the lines between historical signage and art, history and memory, and academic and public histories,” according to Scott. By focusing on ten “forgotten” stories of ten individuals from Vinalhaven Island in Maine from its granite-quarrying era, Scott was able to look deeply at social memory, historical themes and issues, including class, gender, poverty, sexuality, leisure, workshop safety and more. Rather than conveying these individuals as victims of societal forces, Scott casts his subjects as “….active agents negotiating such constraints and contexts. My project draws on scholarship and art that disrupts/subverts this privilege by exploring and promoting emotional epistemologies where empathy and emotional affect are regarded as valid, transformational ways of knowing.”
His installation not only was a welcome and moving exhibit in the Pleasant River Grange Hall on the island community that such histories and stories came from, but it was a marvelous installation in the upper gardens at Goddard College, where Scott presented his project.