It's full-blown spring in Chapel Hill: sunny skies, bluebells in the Arboretum, looming final exams and loud frat parties. I'm excited to see what emerges from the fertile ground of our internship program and the Oral History Seminar I've been teaching this semester-I hope some of you will join us for their final performances (see below for details).
Each year we are delighted by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and dedication our students bring to the challenge of sharing the richness of their oral history interviews through performance. Students (both graduates and undergraduates) in my seminar have been exploring how small-business owners in the Triangle and Triad experience entrepreneurship. How is it shaped by their race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and immigration status? How and why did they get started-what motivated them? How do they understand their role as a businessperson, whether in their family, their community, or the wider culture? Do they see their entrepreneurship as connected to social movements like civil rights, feminism, or environmentalism? How do they define success? Entrepreneurship is a "hot topic," whether on campus or in the news. But what do entrepreneurs really want and need to be successful? What role do they play in their communities and in the state? We think our interviews can help to start answering these questions. The interviews collected by this small group of students will provide a seedbed for what I hope will flourish into a colorful, blooming collection with a wide variety of entrepreneurs in the months to come.
--Rachel F. Seidman