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Community Engaged Internship Project

Compiling Maritime Cultural Heritage Oral History Stories in support of the Gullah Geechee Seafood Trail

Location: South Carolina

Sea Grant Contact: Matt Gorstein

Background and Commitments

A student intern will support the project “Promoting Gullah Geechee Maritime Cultural Heritage and Enhancing Economic Resilience through a Gullah Geechee Seafood Trail,” which establishes a Gullah Geechee Seafood Trail to enhance and promote seafood-related businesses owned by members of the Gullah community in South Carolina. One of the objectives is to document and share maritime cultural heritage stories of Gullah Geechee watermen and women through interviews and focus groups.

The CEI intern will help summarize the qualitative data collected in these sessions through a content analysis to identify key themes and perceptions that emerge from interviews and focus groups. The intern would note impactful quotes to be used in promotional materials for the Seafood Trail, and produce summary statistics of the key themes that emerge. The internship is part time (20 hours per week). The intern would be expected to participate in monthly project team meetings as well as biweekly check in meetings. Transcriptions of focus groups and interviews will be provided to the intern to analyze. All work can be done remotely, so COVID developments should not inhibit internship progress. However, if COVID developments inhibit the interview or focus group process, the intern can shift to supporting the development of a regional database of Gullah-owned seafood businesses and assist the development of communication materials for the Seafood Trail. PPE will be provided to the intern as necessary.

The Gullah Geechee are a culture and community of descendants of enslaved Africans/African Americans who share common language, foodways, food preparation skills, spiritual connection, art, music, and song. This community has been historically underserved due to systemic racism, and are deeply embedded into the cultural history of South Carolina (and the southeastern U.S. coast). The community has a rich history of fishing, harvesting, and preparing marine resources, having traditionally resided along the coast for generations. Already completed focus groups have noted activities of land stewardship, sweetgrass basket weaving, seafood harvesting and preparation techniques, culturally significant geographic locations, and how knowledge is passed down to younger generations. This project team is led by Gullah Geechee community stakeholder organizations: the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce, Gullah Geechee Sea Islands Coalition, Gullah Geechee Fishing Association, and the WeGOJA Foundation; therefore project leadership reflects the diversity of the community. The intern will be guided by these cultural leaders in their analysis and interpretation of focus group information.

S.C. Sea Grant and the project partners are committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for employees of all backgrounds, cultures, identities, and abilities. We will provide accessibility support as needed. Please see our DEI Vision, Values, and Strategies page for more information.

Time Commitment

20 hours per week for up to 12 weeks, between May 10 and August 12, 2022.

Stipend – $3,600 (additional funds may be provided for travel).

Learning Outcomes and Outputs

Learning outcome #1 – The intern will obtain a deeper understanding of the maritime cultural heritage of the Gullah Geechee through listening to recordings and reading transcriptions.

Learning outcome #2 – The intern will gain experience in mixed-methods social science research through analyzing qualitative data to identify important quotes and also by coding key themes that emerge for a quantitative content analysis.

Learning output #1 – A set of important quotes to be used in highlighting Gullah Geechee maritime cultural heritage stories and in promotional materials for the Seafood Trail.

Learning output #2 – A coding scheme for future qualitative data that will be collected.

Learning output #3 – Summary statistics of key themes that have emerged in interviews and focus groups.