Kentucky Folklife Program
Where do you currently work?
My current position is one of the Folklife Specialists for the Kentucky Folklife Program (KFP), working for both the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Historical Society. I work with two other Western Folk Studies alums, Bob Gates and Mark Brown to identify, document, promote and preserve the folklife of Kentucky.
Tell me a bit about your career?
My duties here at the Folklife Program are many and varied, and those duties change quickly from day to day. However, there are two programs/activities that take up the majority of my time: coordinating our Community Scholars training program, and managing our folklife archival holdings.
The Community Scholars program is at heart a training and assistance program. We provide the opportunity for interested citizens and communities to learn how to document their cultural resources. There is now a network of over 150 Scholars across the state, all of whom I get to work with and assist in their projects. On the archival side of things, I manage the 20 + years of research that the Kentucky Folklife Program has conducted, as well as projects that scholars and independent researchers have donated to our collection. Through my position here at KFP, I've been able to immerse myself in Kentucky's rich cultural traditions every day.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
The training I received while a Folk Studies graduate student has helped me enormously in many aspects. It's a common refrain that most of us have no clue what folklore is until we enter Western and start taking classes. I was no different. Folklore has opened my eyes to the variety of communities and their traditional arts. On a day to day basis, I get to meet wonder, intelligent people who do amazing things, and because of my training I can understand their role in their communities and history in a deeper manner.