Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology News
Folk Studies MA Student Receives In These Mountains Fellowship from South Arts
- Wednesday, September 1st, 2021
This fall, Folk Studies graduate student Caitlyn Sheets has been awarded the In These Mountains Graduate Student Fellowship funded by South Arts in the form of a graduate assistantship position in which she will conduct research for the In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture project. The purpose of this initiative is to provide intergenerational opportunities to share, teach, learn, preserve, document, and carry forward the folk arts and culture of Central Appalachia. In These Mountains ensures the passing of traditions (process, skill, materials, context, history, evolution, etc.) from one generation to the next, while encouraging and supporting life-long learning for all participants. Applicants to the WKU Folk Studies MA program for upcoming semesters who are legal residents of an Appalachian Regional Commission county in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia may also apply for this Fellowship.
Sheets states, “I’m excited to get this opportunity to connect to artists of the Appalachian region and to document their work.” Her position includes documentation/folklife fieldwork interviews conducted virtually and/or with folk artists and tradition bearers in Appalachian Regional Commission counties Kentucky, North Carolina, and/or Tennessee, some of whom are already involved with In These Mountains programs and some Sheets will identify based on her own research interests. “I’ve decided to take a bit of an unusual route with some of the interviews and hope to interview morticians. They may not be the first occupation in the folk studies field that comes to mind, but I feel that their craft affects all of us eventually. I’m interested to see what changes have occurred in their field, especially in regard to the pandemic.”
Teresa Hollingsworth, Director, Film & Traditional Arts for South Arts states, “We’re excited to provide fellowship support for a Western Kentucky University Folk Studies’ graduate student from Central Appalachia. WKU has long been recognized for graduating public sector folklorists who are immediately hirable and develop long and impactful careers. South Arts looks forward to continuing support for the In These Mountains Graduate Student Fellowship.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity offered by South Arts for Caitlyn—and we hope, additional students who may apply—to engage with the In This Mountains initiative. This Fellowship offers opportunities for our students to practice the hands-on skills they are learning in our program while contributing to an important and lasting initiative to support traditional arts in Appalachia,” says Folk Studies Associate Professor Ann K. Ferrell.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture. Their mission is advancing Southern vitality through the arts. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the State Arts Agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee—with additional funding from other public and private donors such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation--South Arts supports artists and organizations through a rich and responsive portfolio of grants, fellowships, and programs. South Arts believes that the arts elevate the region, increasing connectedness and inspiring meaningful change in the process.
For more information, visit www.southarts.org and www.southarts.org/programs-conferences/these-mountains.
For more information about the Folk Studies MA program in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology, including information about applying, visit www.wku.edu/fsa/ or contact Ann K. Ferrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-745-5896.
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