Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology News
Kentucky Folklife Program launches Kentucky Folklife On-line Magazine
- Monday, June 15th, 2020
The Kentucky Folklife Program, a part of the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at WKU, is excited to announce the launch of Kentucky Folklife, a multimedia digital publication dedicated to exploring expressive cultures throughout the Commonwealth. “With the KFP’s ongoing mission to document, present and conserve the traditional arts and diverse cultural heritage of the Commonwealth, this magazine further assists us in sharing the stories of so much fine cultural documentation being done across the state by a host of community caretakers” shares KFP Director Brent Bjorkman, “Having such an online presence is a wonderful expansive tool to get such intimate work out to readers within and beyond Kentucky’s borders.”
Led by chief magazine editor Delainey Bowers and Folklife Specialist Joel Chapman, Kentucky Folklife is a collection of essays, interviews, and films that actively celebrates, and confronts, what it means to live and work in the Bluegrass State. Instead of relying on tired stereotypes, Kentucky Folklife is dedicated to bringing a fresh perspective to longstanding conversations centered on collaboration, community-building, and cultural conservation. Originally conceived in 2017 by former Folklife Specialist Virginia Siegel and KFP graduate assistant Nicole Musgrave, the magazine is meant to act as a face to the newly established Kentucky Folklife Network that began with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the support of the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. In spring of 2019, numerous regional meetings were held across the state to gauge interest, rally support, and collect ideas on what people would want out of the folklife network and corresponding magazine. In the past year, KFP staff worked to collect submissions, assemble a board of editors, and select the contributors.
This issue features a community-centric mushroom festival, memories of a once-prominent African American high school, a veteran old-time musician, and the changing world of Anabaptist healthcare practices. “it is true, too, that during intense periods of much-needed social upheaval, it becomes our responsibility as folklorists and community members to listen to the stories of those whose voices have been silenced” shares magazine editor Delainey Bowers. “We challenge ourselves to unlearn deeply ingrained cultural and racial biases, and we extend that challenge to you, the readers, as well. The insights offered here are a reminder that Kentucky is complex and chock-full of rich, dynamic folkloric expression. We hope you find comfort in the old and feel spurred to action by the new.
The KFP is planning a second round of edited stories for the Kentucky Folklife magazine this fall. The website linking you to the publication is: https://kyfolklifemag.org/.
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