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FAQ: What to expect at JASP

With Garland Rieman and Ashley Oldham

We’re a little less than a month out from the Jane Austen Summer Program, and we know you’ve probably got some questions on your mind — especially if this is your first time with us. We got together with our interns, Garland Rieman and Ashley Oldham, who have never been to JASP, to answer some of their queries about what to expect in June. NOTE: Attendees new and returning will want to read our notice about shoes for the ball; scroll down to the red type or visit the ball page for info.My Post (2)

Garland: For starters, when and where does the event “kick off”? I know we have a schedule with dates and times for different events, but I’m curious where the official beginning of it is.

Do people only attend parts or do they attend the whole thing? Is there an initial gathering of attendees to start?

Jennifer: Thursday morning/early afternoon is at your own pace since some people will be coming from out of town. For some attendees, there’ll be the writing workshop. For others there’s the rare-book exhibit at Wilson Library. There will also be shopping; the emporium opens in the morning and features Jane Austen Books, selling gifts and books, and Timely Tresses, which offers bonnets and, this year, hair pieces for the ball. We also have a teachers’ forum as well as a Dance 101 session (more on Dance 101 below). Then in the late afternoon there’ll be a welcome session to call the event to order.

[Find our schedule here (subject to change).]

Garland: Okay, I’m assuming every guest works out their own transportation and housing?

Jennifer: Yup. People either stay at the hotel, or elsewhere and drive in for it. We get free parking in the garage — you just have to check in at the front desk for a pass, or we’ll have one available for print on the website in the coming weeks. There is optional transportation to many of the off-site events, but you need to sign up for it in advance.

Garland: Which garage?

Jennifer: There’s a garage next to the hotel, so it’s super easy to park and get to the conference, plus you’re in walking distance to a lot of Carrboro’s restaurants and shops.

Ashley: Is the event centrally based out of the Hampton Inn? Is that our main meeting point?

Jennifer: Everything except for the rare-book exhibit, the pub crawl, the ball and the afternoon tea is at the hotel.

Ashley: What are our lunch options? Are we eating at the hotel or on our own?

Jennifer: Lunch is on your own (teacher scholars have a luncheon on Friday). There are lots of options outside the hotel; stay tuned in the coming weeks for info on a few nearby spots. However if you want to watch the screenings we’ll be holding, we do have box lunches available. Click here to order. That way you’ll have lunch waiting for you at the hotel, so you can settle in and watch the “Pride and Prejudice” adaptations we’ll be screening. And! Breakfast is free at the hotel — for all registrants, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. If you’re not staying at the hotel, you’ll just need to get vouchers when you first check in at the JASP desk. AND we’ll have “Elevenses” — a midday snack — each day. Like hobbits with their second breakfasts. Hee.

Garland: And the JASP desk is in the lobby of the hotel, right?

Jennifer: Yup, it’ll be toward the back of the hotel on the first floor. There’ll be signs pointing the way.

Ashley: Can you tell us more about what happens before the ball? Does everyone get ready together, or do we show up in our costumes?

Jennifer: This year we have the hair arrangement workshop, so that should be a LOT of fun! Some people will getting ready there. Sorry, it’s full; join the waitlist. Otherwise we’ll break about 4:30 after the last dance lesson, and people will rush off to get ready. Be sure to eat something. The time between dance lessons and the ball will go by fast!  Then there’ll be shuttles for the ball. Sign up for them early! There should also be parking available at the ball.

Ashley: Do you know how people find their dresses and costumes? What do people usually wear, and do we have any options on where to find things?

Jennifer: We have a collection of dresses that people can rent for the ball in a variety of sizes so that’s pretty cool, especially if you’re new and don’t want to invest in a dress. It’s a suggested donation of $25 total (not per item; for example, you could get a gown, hat and gloves all for $25), plus a $10 cleaning fee. Regency wear is not required for the ball, although each year a few more people show up in Regency clothes. However, a number of attendees wear summer dresses and such (or, for men, khakis and polos and the like). Whatever it is, MAKE SURE YOU’RE COMFORTABLE! If you plan to dance, you will be moving a lot!

Ashley: On that note, do you have any recommendations on what shoes to wear?

Jennifer: Excellent question! Listen up, JASP-ers new and old: This year we’re planning to hold the ball in a new venue — the John Lindsay Morehead II Lounge in the James H. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in Graham Memorial Building on the UNC campus. NOTE: High-heel pumps or any shoe with separate heels are prohibited in the space to prevent damaging the floors. Please wear flats, wedges or ballet slippers and such. If you want to decorate your ballet slippers or flats to match your dress or reticule, you can sign up for the shoe roses workshop or purchase shoe roses at JASP.

Ashley: How much dance experience do we need to have? Are the dance lessons provided enough to help us participate?

Jennifer: You don’t need any dance experience at all! I didn’t have any when I came to my first JASP, and I definitely need the lessons each year. We’ll have three dance lessons that aim to cover all the dances on the lineup at the ball. AND this year we’re holding “Dance 101” sessions to cover the basics before you even take one lesson. One thing to note about the dance lessons: These are a great way to meet people. You have to switch partners each dance. And because men can be in short supply, women dance with women. So sometimes you learn the men’s parts, sometimes the women’s parts.

Garland: Equality, we love it.

Ashley: Awesome! Do we need to register for the dance lessons, or can we just show up? Will the lessons be held back to back, and will they be in the same room as the ball?

Jennifer: No registration is necessary for the dances. Each session goes over different dances, and all the dances will happen at the ball. You’re free to go to as many of ’em as you want. They’re usually in the main conference room where we’ll have our panel discussions (so there’ll be a short break while they clear away chairs, etc.) and then we go back in to dance. There’s one lesson each afternoon/evening.  (A heads up that Thursday’s schedule starts in the afternoon and goes pretty late. The dance lesson ends at 10.)

Garland: Is there gonna be live music for the ball? If so, who by?

Jennifer: There WILL be live music at the ball by the Syllabub Players, which helps give it a nice historical feel.

[For more information about the ball, click here.  Click here for the dance steps and videos of the 2019 Jane Austen Summer Program dances.]

Garland: If you’re not well versed in literature or academia, would you have trouble fitting in at the events?

Jennifer: NOT AT ALL. The best thing, IMHO, about this program is the mix of scholars and non-academics. We’re all just there to celebrate Jane Austen and explore her world.

Ashley: Are the group activities designed to help shy folks socialize and speak to people they might not have known before?

Jennifer: At the start of the program for dinner, we have a mixer where you’ll be able to meet people. There’s usually a fun icebreaker that will help “sort” you into tables for dinner. PLUS one of my favorite things about the program are the small-group discussions after presentations. They’re actually more like book clubs, so you have great informal talks and hopefully get to know your group throughout the whole weekend.

AND we have the popular pub crawl. That gets people in the mood to socialize, for sure!

You never run out of stuff to talk about with fellow JASP-ers. You can always break the ice talking about your favorite Jane Austen book. Or — hahaha — say something controversial like: Emma is THE WORST. That would get a discussion going! 😀

Ashley: That sounds great! Could you tell us more about the pub crawl?

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The menu from 2018’s Northanger Abbey/Frankenstein pub crawl

Jennifer: Sure. We take participants to three preselected local bars (it’s a college town, so there are lots to pick from). At each one there’ll be a specially themed cocktail included in the price of the crawl. You can order other drinks on your own. It’s a fun time, getting to know people outside of the conference hotel in a relaxed environment. And the drinks are always great.

Garland: Is there any discount for the drinks the same way there are discounts/vouchers the same way there is for, say, parking?

Jennifer: It’s $15 for one bar, $20 for two or $40 for three bars. It’s nice you don’t have to worry about paying for the themed drinks at the bars. They’re taken care of. Register here.

Garland: How is the tea?

Jennifer: The Sunday afternoon tea is such a lovely way to cap the program. It’s in the Old Well Room at the historic Carolina Inn, which is beautiful. It’s a traditional English tea so lots of food and drink. Register here.

Garland: How involved are the authors and the keynote speakers in the creative writing workshops? Do participants receive feedback on their work?

Jennifer: We’re so happy to have Soniah Kamal (the author of “Unmarriageable”) helping to facilitate our writing workshop — our first such program. She’ll be working with Professor Randall Kenan of the UNC Creative Writing Program and Eleanor Griggs. The goal will be helping participants craft their own short adaptations of a section of “Pride and Prejudice.” Join the waitlist here.

Ashley: Could you tell us more about the theatrical?

Jennifer: Adam McCune is back with another of his adaptations of Jane Austen’s juvenilia. He and the graduate students always put on such a fun show. This year it’s a production of “Love and Friendship” — featuring a bold heroine who pursues a love match. Expect, Adam tells me, a few “ludicrous tragedies.” Hee.

Got a question? Let us know in the comments!

Announcing our new free library program: Jane Austen & Co.

By Garland Reiman

Starting up this summer, the Jane Austen Summer Program will offer another way to immerse local readers in the culture of Regency England: a free “Jane Austen & Co.” discussion series in partnership with Durham public libraries. The first event — titled “Austen & Co.: Games and Play in Austen’s England” — is July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Ave., Durham. It will include a short talk on Regency parlor games using archival materials and references to Austen’s books. Future events will focus on different texts and introduce readers to lesser-known works by Austen as well as those by other women who were writing at the time (such as Ann Radcliffe and Maria Edgeworth). The programs, held at various area libraries, will feature a discussion, followed by engagement with archival materials from the time period.

“We are really excited to start offering new programming beyond our summer symposium,” says Anne Fertig, a graduate teaching fellow at the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature who will lead the July 15 program. “Jane Austen & Co. will increase access and engagement with important female authors and history. Hopefully through our public outreach, we can create new fans of Jane Austen and her contemporaries.”

Find more information about the program here.

This just in: The latest Jane Austen Summer Program updates

We here at the Jane Austen Summer Program are busy prepping for next month’s symposium, and we have got a lot of JASP news to share with you. So sit back and let us catch you up:

Creative writing workshop

my-post-53.jpg[UPDATE: We have a few spots open for this workshop; sign up here.] New this year, the creative writing workshop will focus on creating new content with an emphasis on writing adaptations. The workshop — led by Professor Randall Kenan of UNC’s creative writing program, Eleanor Griggs of the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature, and guest author Soniah Kamal — will incorporate prompts and activities that correlate to adapting Austen to a modern audience. Participants do not need to bring any previous writing. No previous writing experience is required, and sharing is always optional. 

— Garland Rieman

The reticule and shoe roses Friday workshop

There are a handful of spaces left for Friday’s Reticule & Shoe Roses workshop in which participants will make their own shoe decorations and purse to go with their outfits for the Regency ball. What are shoe roses? In the 17th century, shoe roses were a popular form of ornamentation used to dress up, well, your shoes — usually considered the least exciting part of an ensemble. Typically, shoe roses were made of ribbons twisted into a rosette or gathered into a large blossom, and could be expensive, depending on the materials used to create them. A reticule is a small women’s handbag, originally netted and typically having a drawstring. Decorated with embroidery or beading, the reticule would match a woman’s shoe roses and dress. This workshop — Friday, June 21 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. — requires extra fees; sign up here. (Please note: There is a waitlist for our hair and shoe roses workshop on Saturday; join it here.)  

— Garland Rieman

Afternoon tea

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There are still spots available for our traditional English afternoon tea. Served for the second year in a row in the beautiful Old Well Room at the historic Carolina Inn, this year’s tea features four courses, including cucumber and watercress tea sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad phyllo cups, scones with assorted jams and clotted cream, rose orange macaroons, pie bites, tarts, sponge cake, chocolate cake, as well as earl gray and breakfast tea.

The tea is Sunday, June 23, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. To register for the tea, click here. For directions to the Carolina Inn (where our group will also receive free valet parking),  click here.

— Ashley Oldham

Exhibits

Please note that this year’s self-guided Austen-themed tour at the Ackland Art Museum has been canceled. However, you can still view our rare-book exhibit at Wilson Library on Thursday, June 20, from 11 to 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about our Wilson exhibit.

— Garland Rieman

Pub crawl

Pub Crawl (1).pngGet to know your fellow JASP-ers outside of the conference hotel during our pub crawl. Spots are still available for the event, set for Friday, June 21, beginning at 9 p.m. We’ll have special themed cocktails at three local bars, so make sure to sign up soon! One bar is $15; two, $20; three, $40.  

— Jennifer Abella

Theatrical update

Our theatrical is a highlight every year. This year, we’re presenting “Love and Friendship.” Here’s a note from writer Adam McCune: Like “Pride and Prejudice,” Austen’s “Love and Friendship” features a bold heroine who defies the older generation by pursuing a love match rather than following the conventions of rank and wealth — but unlike Lizzy, the heroine of “Love and Friendship” comes across as impractical and even unethical.

In this rollicking parody poking fun at the heroes and heroines of popular novels, young couples marry strangers, scorn the most reasonable requests of their families, go recklessly into debt (and debtor’s prison), meet with ludicrous tragedies, and faint upon the slightest provocation.

The theatrical is Friday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss it!

— Jennifer Abella

T-shirts

Look back on your sure-to-be-awesome time at JASP with one of our souvenir T-shirts, which are locally silk-screened. They’re available for preorder ($20) on our registration page; they can be picked up on-site in June. Here’s a sneak peek at the shirts!

— Jennifer Abella

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Book giveaway winners

Congratulations to our registration giveaway winners! The following will receive the “The Jane Austen Diet” by Bryan Kozlowski: Ashley Honaker, Karen Field, Merrill Bell, Ruth Grant and Michele Beach. You’ll receive your books at JASP.

— Jennifer Abella