Independent folklorists provide professional consulting services ranging from fieldwork to strategic planning, and are increasingly important to arts, cultural, educational, academic, and tourism organizations.
Below are professional profiles of a number of the members of the AFS Independent Folklorists’ Section.
Dyann Arthur (Mill Creek, Washington) [email protected]; 2004 148th Street SE, Mill Creek WA 98012; 425/750-5626
Dyann Arthur, musician and folklorist, is founder of MusicBox Project http://www.musicboxproject.org, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose mission it is to document and preserve our musical history while advancing music education and avenues of creation and performance. Current project: a collection of oral histories and performances of women instrumentalists (not vocalists per se) in traditional genres of American Roots Music, especially those with familial and geographic ties to the tradition. 2010 fieldwork documented over 80 women musicians across North America. The born digital collection housed at the Library of Congress contains over 2300 files including oral history interviews and 1,000 songs both original within the genre and traditional music. The MusicBox Project Collection was noted as one of the American Folklife Center’s Key Acquisitions of 2010.The purpose of this activity is to increase the visibility of women musicians preserving traditional form of American music and the study highlights adaptive methods used in overcoming gendered obstacles to participation and skill development within traditional cultures. Entertaining performances reveal informants’ unique contributions to the cache of developing twenty first century traditions and dissemination of intangible culture on the World Wide Web. This interdisciplinary study features performances on MusicBox Project’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/musicboxproject captured throughout the fieldwork, with film documentary in the works for 2012-2013 screenings.
MusicBox Project welcomes public donations and funding opportunities.
Teri F. Brewer (UK/USA) [email protected]; USA 619/866-4442; UK 07515-681487; skype: teribrewer
I am now semi-retired and primarily interested in screen media production (films and interpretive displays on folklore, archaeology and cultural landscape) and in broader interpretive planning and education activities. I do occasional consulting and professional development workshops and can develop or support field school programs or study tours, particularly in Wales and California. Past independent work has included research management or curatorial work for a number of cultural festivals and exhibitions. I still teach part time occasionally and am a Research Fellow at La Senora Research Institute for 2010-2011.
Juan Dies (Chicago, Illinois) [email protected].com; 773/728-1164
Juan Dies is an award winning musician, a producer and an arts administrator in Chicago. He is Executive Director and performs on bass, guitarrón, guitar and vocals with Chicago’s two-time GRAMMY Nominated Sones de México Ensemble with whom he has produced four CDs and other recording and broadcast projects. He has also recorded with other artists, including Ella Jenkins’ 2005 GRAMMY Nominated album Sharing Cultures (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings—SFW 45058).
For 13 years he worked as Director of Community Programs at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music where he worked as a liaison to Chicago’s ethnic communities and helped develop programs and strategies that bring the services of the school to broader audiences, and produced various popular ethnic music series including La Peña, AfroFolk, Rising: Asian American Sounds of Chicago, and the Native American Equinox Celebration.
Originally from San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Dies came to the U.S. at age 18 and majored in Anthropology and Music at Earlham College; later he specialized in folklore and ethnomusicology and earned an M.A. from the Indiana University Folklore Institute.
He has conducted ethnographic field research among the Turkana in Northern Kenya, among Guatemalan immigrants in Chicago, on verdiales in Andalucia, Spain, and worked as Research Curator for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2006’s Nuestra Música: Latino Music in Chicago program (Washington, DC). Most recently Dies has conducted folklore survey work on area Latino musicians for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (Silver Spring, MD), Maryland State Arts Council (Baltimore, MD), and the Lowell Folk Festival (Lowell, MA), the Idaho Commission for the Arts (Boise, ID), the Western Folklife Center (Elko, NV), and the Ohio Arts Council (Columbus, OH).
Committed to Chicago’s music community, he has served on the boards of Chicago Symphony Orchestra for three years, the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for five years, and the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance (Memphis, TN) for three years. He has also served in numerous advisory capacities and as a panelist for Municipal, State and National granting agencies including the Smithsonian Institution, The Recording Academy, Meet the Composer, Arts International, the Maryland Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, the Indianapolis Arts Council and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Lisa Duskin-Goede (Logan, Utah) [email protected]; 435/757-5420
Lisa Duskin-Goede is a public folklorist working in the Intermountain West. Currently, she oversees the activities of the Bear River Heritage Area. She received her Master of Science in American Studies, Public Folklore track, at Utah State University in 2004. She is an avid fieldworker, traveling throughout the Intermountain West and delving into all aspects of Western lifestyle. Her fieldwork, interviews and photography have been used in the development of heritage tourism publications for the Bear River Heritage Area, including two books on historic barns. In her work, Lisa strives to increase local knowledge of cultural and heritage resources, while encouraging communities to value and exercise stewardship over these resources. Independently, Lisa works with the Wyoming Arts Council conducting cultural surveys for WAC public programming.
Susan Eleuterio (Metro Chicago, northwest Indiana) [email protected]; 219/902-1831
Susan Eleuterio is an independent folklorist, educator, and consultant to non-profits working in the Midwest. Projects include Show-Me Traditions: An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Folk Arts and Folklife in Missouri Schools for the Missouri Folk Arts Program which won the 2011 AFS Education Section Dorothy Howard Prize for excellent work which helps to incorporate folklore into K-12 classrooms and curricula. Other recent work includes teacher’s guides to Sudanese, Armenian, and Native American artists and arts in North Dakota for the North Dakota Council on the Arts Folk Arts program and collaboration on developing and creating the Midwest Folk Festival website.
Eleuterio holds an MA in American Folk Culture from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY/Oneonta) and a BA in English/Education from the University of Delaware. She is the author of Irish American Material Culture: A Directory of Collections, Sites and Festivals in the United States and Canada (Greenwood Press: 1988). She has conducted fieldwork and developed public programs including exhibits, performances, folk arts and oral history workshops and residencies in museums and schools, and developed professional development programs for teachers and artists for organizations around the Midwest and NY State as well as for the Southern Arts Federation. She formerly served as the Director of Ethnic and Folk Arts, Literature and Presenters Programs for the Illinois Arts Council and has co-developed two non-profit agencies, South Shore GRANTS Inc. which provides organizational development skills to non profit organizations and Company of Folk, http://companyfolk.squarespace.com, which documents and showcases the folk and local culture of the southern shores of Lake Michigan including Chicago.
Janet Gilmore (Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin) [email protected]
Janet is on leave from the idylls of independent work, joining the Folklore Program and Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she attempts to integrate her experience as an independent with teaching and academic research. She tries to inspire younger generations through hybrid Folklore and Historic Preservation/Cultural Resource classes that require ethnographic documentation and public production work. She has not forsaken contract work or concerns, and continues to work with Upper Midwestern organizations like the Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which is now developing exhibits and programming on the region’s new immigrants. She’s been pleased to match field schools, classwork, archiving, and students with these projects. Since 2002, she has led the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures team in preparing searchable on-line finding aids for the Upper Midwest’s publicly-funded folk arts project collections. See http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/WIArchives.CSUMC.
Eren Giray (Columbus, Ohio) [email protected]
Eren Giray is an international researcher, teacher and writer who has conducted several research projects in Africa, Turkey, and among immigrant groups in the midwestern U.S. She is an accomplished fieldworker and translator (Turkish/French/Jula to English) and has published several articles and a collection of West African Jula folktales selected as a PAFS (Publication of the American Folklore Society). She has provided teacher training workshops and summer institutes on African and Middle Eastern oral and written literature and culture and served as a consultant for NEH Summer Institutes. She has served as Outreach Coordinator for the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana Center for African Studies as a liaison between the public schools and community. She has curated exhibits, and served as a commentator for African and Turkish films and was recently interviewed for the US tour of the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi sponsored by the Scioto Educational Foundation. She wrote the history of the Turkish American Association of Columbus, Ohio (TAACO) for their website. Eren is currently working on an oral history of a late Ottoman family’s emigration from Salonica to Istanbul in the early 20th Century. She is available for short and long term collection projects, project design and conceptualization, writing reports and synopses on topics of traditional culture, the immigrant experience, interpretation of storytelling and legend narratives, as well as folk belief and personal experience narratives as they relate to community identity in the face of social transformation. Eren is working with community members’ coping with socio-economic, political and worldview shifts by way of using writing as a spiritual practice, and will be spending a year in Istanbul from July 2010 to August 2011 to work on similar issues.
Andrea Graham (Laramie, Wyoming) [email protected]
Andrea Graham has served as the contract Traditional Arts Coordinator for the South Dakota Arts Council since 2001, where she manages an apprenticeship program and undertakes special projects such as exhibits and cultural tourism tours. She has worked as a consulting folklorist and fieldworker across the West and Midwest for state, local, regional and national arts and cultural organizations. She has been working as a public/research folklorist with the American Studies Program at the University of Wyoming since the fall of 2009, but is still available for short-term contract work.
Laura Marcus Green (Santa Fe, New Mexico) [email protected]; 505/690-7380
Laura Marcus Green is a Santa Fe-based independent folklorist, writer, and consultant, whose work includes community-based research, publications, exhibits, and teaching. Dr. Green co-directs Building Cultural Bridges, a national initiative encouraging interdisciplinary support for refugee and immigrant heritage in the U.S. through publications, presentations, and workshops. Current projects include folklife research for the Iowa Arts Council, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the South Carolina Arts Council. Green was founding director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization’s Arts for New Immigrants Program in Portland, Oregon. There, she identified incoming refugee and immigrant cultural practitioners, assessed their needs, linked them to resources for continuing their careers or cultural traditions, and developed related educational heritage-based public programs. Previous positions include program associate for the Fund for Folk Culture and work for the state folklore programs of Oregon, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Other experience includes co-coordinating the colloquium, Women’s Cooperatives for Economic and Social Empowerment, for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and Museum of International Folk Art; research on Navajo trading and traditional culture; teaching folklore and ethnography-related courses at Lewis & Clark College and the Colorado College; facilitating creative writing workshops in a low-income housing community; and serving on grant review panels for national, state, and local arts agencies. Recent publications include: “Back to the Roots: Weaving Art and Community to Revitalize Rio Grande Pueblo Red Willow Baskets” in Native Basketry in New Mexico: Past, Present, Future and The New Mexico Fiber Arts Trail Guide—both for New Mexico Arts; and The Art of Community; Creativity at the Crossroads of Immigrant Cultures and Social Services, for the Institute for Cultural Partnerships and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. Recent exhibits include The Comforts of Home: Crafting a New Life in the Treasure Valley, featuring local refugee traditional arts, for the Idaho Commission on the Arts; and The Lingo of Our Calling; The Legacy of Cowboy Poetry for the Western Folklife Center. Green holds an M.A. in anthropology and folklore from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in folklore and anthropology from Indiana University.
Joe Hickerson (Portland, Oregon) j[email protected]; 1627 SE 76th Avenue, Portland, OR 97215; 301/980-0493
Over the past fifty-five-plus years, Joe Hickerson has performed and lectured over a thousand times throughout the U.S.A. and in Canada, Finland, U.K., and Ukraine. His repertoire includes a vast array of folksongs and allied forms in the English language, many with choruses. Pete Seeger has called him “a great songleader.” He calls himself a “vintage pre-plugged paleo-acoustic folksinger.” In 1960 he wrote the 4th and 5th verses of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” He has recordings on the Folk-Legacy and Folkways labels, ranging from 1957 to the present [including the earliest LP of “Kumbaya” . His concerts are guaranteed to “Drive Dull Care Away.” Joe also has a career as folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, and librarian; for 35 years (1963-1998) he was Librarian and Director of the Archive of Folk Song/Culture at the Library of Congress. He lectures and writes on a variety of folk music topics, and is available for song researches. And he now coordinates the “Songfinder” column for Sing Out! magazine. Contact him directly for hiring information and an annotated list of recordings.
Richard Joltes (Amesbury, Massachusetts) [email protected]
Richard Joltes is a writer and researcher who works primarily at the intersection between folklore and history, examining the manner in which elements of folklore and legend become integrated into popular consciousness (and accepted history) over time. His work includes articles on treasure hunting tales, urban legends, and the acceptance of early myths about American history into the historical record. Recent projects have included articles about treasure hunting manias in New England following the Revolutionary War, and an upcoming piece on the myth of North America as an “unsettled wilderness” prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Jens has been an independent folklore researcher for hire from his first contract for the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife in the fall of 1975, except for six years as the director of the Washington State Folklife Council and two years as outreach faculty for Indiana University’s Indiana Communities Project. Since 2004, Jens has been Program Manager of Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program. Jens’s Indiana University doctoral dissertation in folklore and American Studies (published by University Press of Kentucky as Flatheads and Spooneys) is derived from early contract fieldwork in the lower Midwest. Jens has conducted fieldwork projects in communities in eighteen states, from Staten Island, New York, to the Aleutians. Jens helped organize the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering, in Elko, Nevada, the first logger poetry gatherings in Washington, and the first City Lore People’s Poetry Gathering in New York City. Since 1984, he has worked primarily in the West. From 1996 through 2004, he developed six of the first folklore audio tours, the Washington Heritage Audio Tours. Apart from his state parks work, he also did fieldwork with Northwest Indian woodcarvers for the Longhouse Educational and Cultural Center 2007-08 & has worked with City Lore on its Heartland Passages film project in western New York State. Since 2009 state budget cuts have reduced hours significantly, other than during summer season, so he is again seeking independent consulting work. In 2004, his colleagues awarded him the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for outstanding achievement in public folklore.
Kathryn Grow McCormick (Brooklyn, New York) [email protected]
Kathryn’s work as a NYC Dept of Education guidance counselor has been enriched by her folklore studies. She has designed enrichment and group projects encompassing play, childlore, local lore, family stories and community planning, integrating arts with the exploration of cultures. Recognition and use of community based organizations’ inroads in connecting immigrants to communities and expanding members’ capacity to participate in their new communities interests Kathryn. Her folklore skills in interviewing, writing and designing projects with community agencies seeks to advance cultural understanding and interchange of information often through tangible fine arts and crafts.
Gwen Meister (Lincoln, Nebraska) [email protected]
Gwen is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Folklife Network, Inc. (NFN), a nonprofit organization that serves as the state folklife program of Nebraska. The NFN works with the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Humanities Council to produce cultural trunks and other educational materials for Nebraska K-12 schools on folklife and traditional arts. She is a contributing author in Through The Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum, a 2011 publication of the Utah State University Press that presents a collection of experiences from exemplary folklore and education projects. Gwen also consults through her business, Plains Cultural Resources. She has directed oral history projects focusing on Mexican Americans, Germans from Russia, occupational folklore, and agriculture for organizations ranging from economic development districts to museums and historical societies. She delivers folklife and oral history training workshops for the American Folklife Center Veterans History Project in Nebraska and surrounding states. She holds a masters degree in cultural anthropology with an emphasis on folklore from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Jo’s work, principally in northern New England, combines oral history, folklore fieldwork, storytelling, and school residencies. Funded by the Maine and New Hampshire Humanities Councils, she presents workshops throughout those states on the art of oral history. Her own oral history work serves various communities and regional historical societies and often culminates in a storytelling performance as well as archival material. Recently she created Burnt into Memory: The Story of the Brownfield Fire, an hour-long performance based on local accounts of a 1947 wildfire. She teaches interviewing and community folklore research in schools and coordinates intergenerational projects. She is also finishing a book on the creation and performance of handwritten literary “newspapers” in nineteenth-century New England.
Millie Rahn (Watertown [metro-Boston], Massachusetts) [email protected]
Millie Rahn is a folklorist with more than two decades’ experience using the ethnographic model of participation/observation and interviewing to elicit cultural knowledge. Frequently her work creates the first systematic studies of previously under-documented populations, occupations, and/or communities. Her research has been used by herself and others to develop public and in-school programs, public policy, or place-based economic development. Her strengths are field-based research and documentation, designing fundable public programs and producing large public events, writing, marketing and public relations, and public speaking. Clients have included government arts and development agencies, nonprofit cultural and educational organizations, and the heritage and tourism industries throughout the Northeast, the Midwest, and Atlantic Canada. In the last decade Millie has often focused on ethnic and immigrant communities and traditions, and on regional foods and their place in communities and in the local landscape. She has presented numerous programs at regional festivals and conducted workshops for historical societies, teacher-training institutes, and heritage-based businesses. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, where she teaches courses in ethnography and local/regional foodways in the graduate heritage studies program. Ongoing projects include curating the multicultural traditional foodways stages for the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine; and the Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and she is long-time curator of the material culture areas of the Lowell Folk Festival and the Cambridge River Festival.
Lisa Rathje (Chicago area) [email protected]; 717/798-6979
Dr. Lisa Rathje is an independent consultant who specializes in ethnographic research and folklife program development. She also provides technical assistance and professional development consultations for individual artists and non-profit organizations. Rathje received her PhD in English with a concentration in Folklore from the University of Missouri. Her areas of interest include folklife, cultural heritage, and ethnographic research methodologies; with research specializations in Afro-Cuban folklife, Pennsylvania cultural traditions, folklife and education, and applying cultural knowledge in social justice efforts. Working as a folklorist with the Institute for Cultural Partnerships, she administered the Fellowships and Apprenticeships in Folk and Traditional Arts Program for Pennsylvania; including technical assistance, program management, site visits, and documentation. At Penn State Harrisburg, Rathje has taught graduate seminars and undergraduate courses in public heritage, folklore, and oral history. Since 2006, Rathje has served as oral history advisor and videographer for an on-going research project on Afro-Cuban artist Nancy Morejón and others of her generation. Also, Making It Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today, an exhibition featuring over 40 objects that exemplify how traditional art forms serve as catalyst in contemporary communities, was co-curated by Rathje and will be touring various sites throughout Pennsylvania through April 2012.
Since 2002, Amber has worked as an independent consulting folklorist collaborating with Aboriginal and community groups in Kentucky, Alaska, and British Columbia, Canada. She has experience with funding, designing, producing, and facilitating museum exhibits, new media projects, digital archives, and documentary videos that conserve heritage and showcase cultural landscapes through oral history. As co-curator of a collaborative online exhibition entitled Dane Wajich Dane-zaa Stories and Song(2007), hosted by the Virtual Museum of Canada, she and visual anthropologist Kate Hennessy received the 2008 Jean Rouch Award from the Society for Visual Anthropology for participatory filmmaking and media communication. Amber’s 2010 film, Rovers, Wrestlers & Stars, has appeared on PBS in Kentucky and is currently touring the independent film festival circuit. In addition to her independent consulting work Amber is a doctoral candidate in folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Amber’s training in Folklore, ethnography and material culture studies includes an MA in folk studies from Western Kentucky University (2002) and a BA in Anthropology and Geography from the University of British Columbia (1992). Amber has served on the AFS communications in Folklore Working Group (2009-2012) and has been appointed to the AFS Publications Committee (2013-2015). Find more about Amber at www.amberridington.com.
Jan Rosenberg (Bloomington, Indiana) [email protected]
Jan Rosenberg, founder and President of Heritage Education Resources, Inc. (HER), has been active in the field of folklore and education since 1980. She has been a member of the Folklore and Education Section of AFS since 1988, and joined the Independents Section in 2010. She is also a member of the Local Learning Network. HER’s mission is to develop and provide resource materials and services for the exploration of heritage and cultural diversity, and it became a 501(c)(3) in 1997. Through HER, Rosenberg works in a variety of education settings and activities and settings, including curriculum development and classroom work. She has a particular interest in the use of folklore in the classroom during the progressive education era of the early 20th century.
Alicia J. Rouverol (Santa Rosa, California) [email protected]
In 2008, Alicia received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for her work on the Brown Creek Life Review Project, in which inmates performed their stories for at-risk youth. Funds from the grant supported her professional development as a writer. She has been a contributing writer for ParentsDigest.com, a book reviewer for The Monitor, and has recently joined the staff of Narrative Magazine, an on-line literary magazine based in San Francisco. This spring she received a scholarship to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University, a low-residency program located in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2009, she served as program co-chair for the Oral History Association annual meeting, which also took place in Louisville.
Eileen Shimizu (Trenton, New Jersey) [email protected]
Ms. Shimizu is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Peshabestown, Michigan. Her manuscript “16 Ojibwa Tales” is under consideration by a university press. Her goal is to preserve her tribe’s oral traditions into literary English. She is also a storyteller and Native American dancer.
Tyrie Smith (Tiger, Georgia) [email protected]
T. J. Smith is an independent, public folklorist with research experience in the folklore of Southern Appalachia, urban folklore, foodways, and food security and has held faculty positions at rural and majority-minority-serving institutions (2006 – 2014). Most recently, T. J. served as executive director of The Foxfire Fund, Inc. (2017 – 2020), overseeing that organization’s rebranding, major program and museum improvements, and editing two Foxfire publications, The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery (UNC Press, 2019) and Foxfire Story (Anchor, 2020). Additionally, He was co-founder and branding consultant for design firm Braizen in Atlanta, GA (2011 – 2019), where he assisted dozens of businesses in developing brand strategies and identities. He holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Louisiana.
Laurie Sommers (Laurie Kay Sommers Cultural Consulting, Okemos Michigan) [email protected]; 517/899-6964
Laurie Sommers holds a Ph.D. (1986) and MA (1980) in Folklore from Indiana University, with a concentration in ethnomusicology specializing in regional musics of the US. She has worked for organizations such as the Indiana Division of State Parks, the Bureau of Florida Folklife, the Smithsonian Office of Folklife Programs, the Michigan State University Museum and Michigan Traditional Arts Program, and Valdosta State University College of the Arts, where she founded the South Georgia Folklife Project (1996-2006). The award-winning South Georgia Folklife Collection website includes links to much of her recent work (http://archives.valdosta.edu/folklife/). Throughout her nearly three decades in public folklore, she has developed numerous public programs, including concerts, festivals, exhibits, folk arts in education curriculum, and documentary radio. An experienced fieldworker, she frequently gives workshops on community documentation. Most recently, she worked as the historian/folklorist for the Fishtown Preservation Society in Leland, Michigan, and developed an integrated approach to historic preservation and folklore in The River Runs Through It, Report on Historic Structures and Site Design in the Fishtown Cultural Landscape (2011). She currently serves as an independent consultant in folklore and historic preservation and co-chairs the American Folklore Society’s Working Group on Folklore and Historic Preservation Policy. She is the author of various publications which grew out of her fieldwork and public programs, among them Fiesta, Fe, y Cultura, Celebration of Faith, Culture and Community in Detroit’s Colonia Mexicana; Beaver Island House Party; Folkwriting, Lessons About Place, Heritage, and Tradition for the Georgia Classroom (with Diane Howard and educators from Cook County, Georgia, http://archives.valdosta.edu/archon/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=448&q=ring+shout); and “Hoboken-Style: Meaning and Change in Okefenokee Sacred Harp Singing” http://www.southernspaces.org/2010/hoboken-style-meaning-and-change-okefenokee-sacred-harp-singing.
Elaine Thatcher (Logan, Utah) [email protected]; 435/752-5920
Elaine Thatcher (M.A., American Studies and Folklore, Utah State University, 1983) works primarily with the ethnic and occupational communities of the American West. She also does program evaluation and planning for folk arts programs, cultural tourism development, and conducts oral history projects and training. Currently (2011) she is doing fieldwork for the Wyoming Arts Council and the Bear River Heritage Area. She also produces the Contemporary Western Women series for Utah Public Radio. She has worked in government, nonprofits, and higher education and has served on the boards of the American Folklore Society, the Folklore Society of Utah, and the Bear River Heritage Area. A veteran producer of public programs, her past projects include The Mountain West Songfest & Symposium(Mountain West Center, 2004-present), The Spirit of Place radio series (Western States Arts Federation, 1999, broadcast nationally), the Voices of the West: Songs and Stories of the Land CD and performance tour (Western States Arts Federation and the Western Folklife Center, 1994), Nature and Tradition: The Ethics of Land Use in Western Communities (Utah Humanities Council, 1991), exhibitions of ranching gear at the Coconino Center for the Arts (Flagstaff, Arizona) and the Western Folklife Center (Elko, Nevada), and heritage tourism projects in Arizona and Utah. She has also done field research, program evaluation, and planning for a variety of institutions across the U.S. Her publications include Folksongs from the Beehive State: Early Field Recordings of Utah and Mormon Folk Music (Utah State University Press, 2008). Cowboy Poets & Cowboy Poetry (co-editor; University of Illinois Press, 2000), Sharing Your Culture: A Handbook for Traditional Folk Artists Interested in Building New Audiences (Western States Arts Federation, 1997, 1999) and an essay, “Public Folklore in Utah,” in Folklore in Utah: A History and Guide to Resources (David Stanley, ed., Utah State University Press, 2004). Her current research interests center on history of public folklore in the West, Utah folk music, and landscape studies. Thatcher was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Botkin Prize, an award recognizing lifetime achievement in public sector folklore given by the American Folklore Society.
Richard Vidutis, PhD (Alexandria, Virginia) [email protected]
Richard Vidutis has worked as a contract consultant on over 80 research and documentation projects throughout the United States in the fields of Ethnography/Folklife, Museum Programming and Planning, and History (Cultural Resources Management, and Historic Preservation).
In particular, Mr. Vidutis’s competencies lie in project management (design through stakeholder liaison, cultural resource identification, and implementation on own initiative or in interdisciplinary teams); fieldwork methodologies (tailored surveys or deep studies through photography, oral history, document research, and artifact collecting; data compilation of inventories for exhibitions and festivals, and deliverables such as publications and reports. His diverse institutional experience, for example, includes ethnographic work for US Census Bureau, FEMA, Smithsonian, National Park Service, Folklife Center, The History Factory, Heritage
Themes and topics analyzed by Mr. Vidutis involve a wide spectrum of ethnographic studies of urban and rural folklife and history with a very strong emphasis on ethnic cultures in the United States. Some of the topics analyzed: folk arts maintenance; oral histories of occupational groups (factory workers, executives, and military); cultural impact statements such as post-disaster New Orleans; national
Mr. Vidutis’s education includes a PhD (Folklore Institute, Indiana University), the study of archiving at Wayne State University, Detroit, and course work in museum preservation and conservation at Greenfield Village, Ford Museum, Dearborn. He has studied abroad at universities in Finland, Lithuania, and Poland.
Georgia Wier (Portland, Oregon, and Greeley, Colorado); [email protected]; 970/590-3933
Georgia Wier offers her skills as a folklore fieldworker, oral historian, workshop leader, researcher, exhibit curator, and grant writer. Her work with organizations includes projects such as one she conducted for the Attala Historical Society in Mississippi. There, she facilitated the planning and organization of a countywide oral history collection effort and taught a dedicated group of volunteers to conduct and process oral history interviews. Georgia has conducted folklore fieldwork or served as a folklorist in schools in Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, South Carolina, North Carolina, the Appalachian regions of nine states, and her home state of Mississippi. She co-curated the exhibit Uncovering the Exceptional: A Colorado Carver’s View at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colorado. Currently Georgia is collaborating with the Wyoming Arts Council and the Nebraska Folklife Network to document and present Dutch Hop polka, a form of traditional music and dance practiced by the American descendents of Germans from Russia. Georgia brings her interest in promoting cross-cultural communication to all of her positions. While serving as a regional folklorist for the Colorado Council on the Arts and City of Greeley Museums, she convened a series of gatherings that led to the formation of an active Latino Advisory Committee. Georgia holds an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.