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Hendrix Students and Professors Launch AV Arkansas

AV Arkansas Homepage image_web.jpg

CONWAY, Ark. (April 30, 2021) — Hendrix College students recently launched Audiovisual Arkansas: Citizen Storytellers (AV Arkansas), an online collection of multimedia stories about Arkansans, with a focus on work, play, and place. The website is

Students involved in the project include Dylan Hicks ’21, a studio art major from Guy, Arkansas; Julia Kraus ’21, a philosophy major from Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Ragan Price ’21, an English-film studies major from Conway, Arkansas.

The student team collaborated closely with Hendrix art professor and photographer Maxine Payne and author and creative writing professor Dr. Tyrone Jaeger. Support for the project is made possible by the Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Professorship, held by Payne and Jaeger. Students will receive Global Awareness Odyssey credit for their participation. The project and Payne and Jaeger’s professorship will be complete at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

“Our mission is to collaborate with Hendrix students to tell the stories of Arkansans,” said Payne.

“Since we’ve known each other, we’ve shared our mutual admiration for artists who root their work in place and who bear witness to the strange wonders of the people who spring up from these places,” said Jaeger. “Place is important, and as artists we both seek to understand the places where we live, work, and play.”

Through AV Arkansas, students learn to engage with local communities, to search for stories in Arkansas, and to produce engaging artworks that foreground story. As they engage with the people and places that make Arkansas, students develop fluency in multimedia storytelling, using a wide range of audio and visual editing tools to produce short documentary and other films, illustrations, photographic essays, podcasts and radio features, and text.  

“During my time working for AV Arkansas I learned a lot about crafting a story based around someone’s life and how to create art that properly represents them as a person,” said Hicks. “The process of filming, editing, and befriending a subject is something I hope to take into future careers in storytelling that I apply for.”

“AV Arkansas taught me to be a more confident while conducting interviews,” said Kraus. “At the start of the summer, I thought I needed to fill up silences with small talk to make interviewees comfortable, but I’ve learned it’s okay to wait silences out or rephrase questions to get more complete responses. It’s an interview not a conversation, it’s okay if it’s a bit awkward in the moment if the tape sounds better in the end.”

“While working on AV Arkansas, I developed my audio editing skills in Audacity a great deal,” Kraus added. “This summer, I’ll apply that experience to learning more professional audio software including Audition and Logic while I intern at Arts & Letters at UALR.”

Next year’s student team includes Lauren Allen ’24, (anthropology major, Nashville, Tennessee); Hannah Diggs ’23, (English-creative writing and history double major, Bonnerdale, Arkansas); Sophie O’Reilly ’24 (undeclared major, Tulsa, Oklahoma); Josiah Vallone ’22, (English-creative writing major, Conway, Arkansas); and Vada Wood ’24, (English-creative writing major, Clarksville, Arkansas).

“Participating in AV Arkansas will allow me to have in-the-field experience with work that I hope to do in my own future career,” said Allen. “I also love the point that Maxine Payne made during the information session; Hendrix has always been viewed as its own prestigious bubble in the Conway community. I love that this project allows the College to create more roots in the state and better get to know the community that it is a part of.”

“I enjoy discovering meaning in the people and places around me, and I am honored to work with other individuals who are passionate about making media,” said Diggs.

“I hope to gain direct documentarian experience so that my future fieldwork and literary endeavors more accurately capture the lived experiences of others,” said O’Reilly. “I am particularly interested in and dedicated to amplifying voices that are marginalized, under-represented, or inaccurately depicted in mass media. Throughout this process, I hope to begin to make Arkansas feel more like my home, both by forming deeper relationships within Hendrix and in the state community at large.”

“By participating in AV Arkansas, I wish to experience the community around me in greater depth than I ever have before,” Wood said.

Jaeger, Payne, and their students had hoped to host a release party and share the AV Arkansas stories with the Hendrix community, but they will reschedule it for next school year due to COVID-19. In the meantime, the team encourages the community to visit the website and enjoy the stories.

“I think Ragan Price put it best when she said how much she loved meeting people and learning about their lives, and what a gift it is to have been trusted to frame and share their stories,” said Jaeger. “I hope people enjoy the stories as much as we enjoyed making them.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit