My time as a Folklorist

     Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I first discovered folklore at Indiana University. There, I double-majored in folklore and telecommunications with a concentration in production and design. I collected ghost stories from my family, interviewed with local musicians, talked “machete-talk” with Jamaicans, planned and ran a campus “ghost- walk”, and indexed my grandfather’s lifelong hobby of wood crafting.

     The telecommunications degree allowed me to become proficient in operating video cameras, editing skills, and pre-production. I created podcasts and other audio-based projects as well as volunteered as a DJ for the student radio station, WIUX. Eventually, under the direction of Traditional Arts Indiana, I was able to combine my interest in folklore and my proficiency in media arts to produce short pieces showcasing several Indiana artists. 

Photo by Brent Bjorkman 

My deep dive into folklore really started with my pursuit of a Master of Arts in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University. Here I conducted more intense ethnographic fieldwork and analysis as well as hands-on programming experience. I worked as a graduate assistant for Dr. Tim Frandy where I got experience teaching, instructing, evaluating, and communicating. I worked with a team of fellow cohorts to coordinate and market Bosnian coffee traditions and Bosnian Pita making. I took part to plan and work public folklore events such as the Horse Cave Heritage Festival narrative stage, and the Hammer-In blacksmithing event.

     My fieldwork involved interviewing dairy farmers about raw milk legends, West Virginian teachers about their experience during the 2018 strike, and online spoon carving communities. I have written practice grants and practice nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. With two other students, we created a documentary showcasing the performance of regional, professional wrestlers in Frankfort, KY.

In the summer of 2018, I interned for Traditional Arts Upstate New York (TAUNY) to help them prepare for the 25th anniversary of their North Country Heritage Award. I created a calendar of events connected to NCHA recipients, helped conceptualize, and conducted fieldwork for them to use in programming for the upcoming season. I traveled over 1,200 miles visiting over a dozen artists and places and made 8 short video pieces that showcase these people and places

For more details, please follow some of the links below. 

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