Ph.D. Candidate and Folklore Fellow.
Independent Radio Producer
The Ohio State University
What do you do on a day to day basis?
At the moment, my primary occupation is undertaking research for a dissertation which is an ethnographic study of the community of Argentine tango dancers in Cincinnati. So I’m going to Argentine tango events, participating, observing, doing interviews, and then spending hours typing up my field notes and transcribing the interviews (which I sort of enjoy, although I wish I could do it quicker).
What are the goals of your work?
Right now, it’s to get the material together to write a grand dissertation, finish it in a timely manner, and become Rachel Hopkin PhD by May 2019 at the latest.
How did folklore, specifically our program prepare you for your career?
Well, I’m in a folklore program at OSU too so it was excellent to have all that coursework already under my belt from WKU. All of my courses from there count towards my degree at OSU. I would also say that the understanding I gained of the academic discipline of folklore at WKU has been hugely important. It has also changed the way I think about radio producing and other types of public folklore work too, particularly with regard to how one regards one’s interviewees. I trained in radio production at the BBC which is built along largely journalistic lines and journalists often feel they have carte blanche to do what they want with the material their interlocutors give them or to which they have gained access. That doesn’t mean that they will be setting out to do any kind of hatchet job at all and I hope I was always respectful of those I worked with. But now I find I check in more and more with the people who are kind enough to allow me to interview them.
If you could give one piece of advice to recent graduates/jobseekers?
I feel that being a folklorist is a way of life as well as a profession – so you can bring your folkloristic being to any sphere of activity.
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