OFN Staff Updates

Former Staff Updates

Brad McMullen

It is with great excitement that we announce that Brad McMullen, a recent graduate of the University of Oregon’s Folklore and Arts Administration graduate programs and three-year Graduate Employee at the Oregon Folklife Network, has accepted the position of Programs Manager with the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada.

McMullen’s primary responsibility at the Western Folklife Center will be to organize and manage their premier event, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held annually in Elko (January 28 to February 2, 2019). Located in the historic Pioneer Building in downtown Elko, Nevada, the Western Folklife Center is both a local and a regional nonprofit cultural center whose exhibitions, educational programs, national radio and television programs, research and preservation projects, and cultural events explore and give voice to traditional and dynamic cultures of the American West. Meg Glaser, Western Folklife Center Artistic Director says, “We are so pleased to welcome Brad to our staff. His grounding in folklore, skills in arts administration, interest in folk poetry, and good sense of humor are a great fit for the Programs Manager position and the Western Folklife Center.”

McMullen has a bachelor’s degree in Folklore & Mythology (Harvard University), a master’s degree in Welsh (University of Cardiff), and two master’s degrees in Folklore and Arts Management (University of Oregon). During his time with the Oregon Folklife Network, McMullen conducted fieldwork, managed the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, coordinated public programs, assisted on grants, documented the FisherPoets Gathering, and did extensive community outreach.

McMullen credits the faculty, staff, and students at the Oregon Folklife Network and the University of Oregon for his success. “I couldn’t have asked for a better springboard to a career than the time I spent at the OFN and the University of Oregon. I was incredibly lucky to work with an array of wonderful faculty, staff, contractors, and fellow students to develop the skills I needed to get a fantastic job like this.”

As the Program Manager for the Western Folklife Center, McMullen will oversee year-round programming as well as manage the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The 2019 Gathering is a celebration of the Gathering’s 35th anniversary and has a great line-up of new and classic performers, already posted online. He hopes to see some familiar faces there!

Jennie Flinspach

With much sadness, OFN says farewell to Jennie Flinspach, OFN’s 2018 Summer Folklife Fellow. With a BA in English (Simpson College), Flinspach completed dual Master’s degrees in Folklore and Arts Management (University of Oregon). During her time with OFN, Flinspach helped to launch and later manage the Oregon Culture Keepers’ Roster; she also interned with the 2017 Warm Springs Folklife Fieldschool, which put her years of experience teaching English and Theatre to good use. Flinspach fearlessly braved new software programs that enhanced OFN’s visuals on social media. This past summer she ably coordinated several public programs with artists in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. For her final project, she made it possible for OFN to realize a long-time goal of a full-color, picture-rich annual report. With further experience as an archivist for the Randall V. Mills Archive of Northwest Folklore (where she designed and edited Cooking with Folklore: Recipes from the Archives), Flinspach aided OFN by building robust organizational management systems. Prior to moving to Oregon, Flinspach was a high school English and drama teacher in the Iowa public school system. We are sorry to lose Jennie Flinspach in the OFN office, and eager to see what unfolds in her professional career.

2018-2019 New Staff

OFN welcomes Latham Wood, a doctoral student in cultural anthropology at UO; as OFN’s new Graduate Employee for the academic year, he’ll be coordinating the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Wood’s doctoral research explores the politics of culture in Vanuatu, and focuses specifically on a traditionalist movement on the island of Aneityum that aims to revive an ancestral system of socio-political organization. His interests also include kinship, personhood, and human-environment relationships. Along with his more theoretical work, he has authored three publications and produced numerous films in collaboration with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre—created specifically for indigenous ni-Vanuatu audiences. He is married to a ni-Vanuatu woman, and they have two children.

OFN also welcomes Iris Teeuwen, a first-year master’s student in the Folklore program who is working with OFN as a Graduate Employee for Fall and Winter terms. She earned a B.S. in Anthropology with a minor in Philosophy from Portland State University. Teeuwen is the first member of her family to graduate from college and is looking forward to furthering her education. Her research on holiday myths draws on her Dutch upbringing and considers how Sinterklaasis celebrated in the Netherlands; in doing so, she is focusing on the current debates over the traditional black-faced holiday figure Zwarte Piet(Black Piet). Her work at OFN includes coordinating the newsletter, drafting folk arts award nominations, and logging ethnographic documentation.

OFN is pleased to welcome back Jacob Armas, an undergraduate in International Studies and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, where he focuses on Diplomacy and International Relations in Europe. He is also pursuing a minor in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry. Jacob studied in Prague, Czech Republic in Fall 2017, where he studied how Czech art historians view Czech art history of the 1970s and early 80s; he is currently researching performance art in Central Europe under communist regimes. Armas plans to apply to graduate school and pursue a career in museums. At OFN, Jacob will continue the work he started last winter on the Culture Keepers roster.

OFN welcomes new intern Andrew Ferry, an undergraduate transfer student majoring in Folklore at UO. At OFN, he is updating the operations and communications manuals, analyzing social media practices, and editing videos from the field. Ferry’s main research interests concern how folk belief and folk religion inform folk medicine and healing practices.

Treaty of 1855 Conference, Museum at Warm Springs, Oct 25-27, 2018

Upon returning to work after attending the Middle Oregon Treaty of 1855 Conference, I am newly aware that I am returning to America after visiting the Warm Springs Nation; a sovereign nation that pre-existed the establishment of the United States, with inherent rights to their lands – including access to millions of acres ceded to the US through the Treaty for usual and customary practices like hunting and gathering. These rights are not only acknowledged, but protected by the Treaty, a nation-to-nation agreement with the same legally and ethically binding strength and significance as other international treaties.

Photo by Edward Curtis

The original document resides in a climate-controlled vault in the National Archives in Washington DC, however it is temporarily on display at the Museum at Warm Springs through Nov 3, 2018. This unique access to the Treaty parallels the Museum’s celebration of its 25th Anniversary, and spurred tribal leadership to coordinate the Treaty Conference from Oct 25-27. Many Native and non-native allies came together to better understand the historical context that established the Treaty; to reflect on the renewed growth and development of tribal governance despite the overwhelming loss of language, cultural practices, lands and people; and to imagine and plan for a future beyond indigenous survival, to one of thriving.

Warm Springs Tribal Council member, Valerie Switzler (Director of Cultural and Heritage Language Programs), invited Oregon Folklife Network to interview participants and document their reflections and reactions. Of high importance to her was engaging tribal youth in the process. OFN was honored by the invitation and donated our time in sponsorship of the event. With the help of superintendent Ken Parshall, we reached out to OFN’s Fieldschool alumni, and Warm Springs sophomores Dylan Heath, Taya Holiday, and Kathryce Danuka attended on Friday and took leadership roles in running the video camera, asking thoughtful questions, and ensuring that release forms were returned. They showed great respect and professionalism, though I was delighted to see them relax into some light-hearted teenager fun after their work was through.

With their help, OFN gathered interviews spanning a variety of perspectives, from NARF lawyer (and former UO Duck) Charles Wilkinson, to elder and language teacher Arlita Rhoan. The multi-talented incoming Executive Director of the Museum at Warm Springs (and former Poet Laureate) Elizabeth Woody expertly coordinated this important event, and graciously provided her reflections for this record, all of which is going back to the Tribal Archives. The thoughts they all shared co-mingle with my own reflections, even as the days between me and the event grow. I yearn for more time to steep in my feelings and better understand and act on my sense of urgency to respond. But I am back in America now. Although their prayer songs fade in my ears, the people of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and those from the 500+ sovereign nations who uphold their agreement to permit US activities on lands that have been theirs since time immemorial, sing often and sing strong.

A trip to the Museum today will offer you a once in a lifetime opportunity to view six original pages of the handwritten 1855 Treaty, and the lifelong gift of a deeper understanding of an historical agreement between nations that continues to be of great significance today and always.

Update from Four Rivers Cultural Center

Josh Chrysler, Four Rivers Cultural Center Staff Folklorist

from left: Emily West Hartlerode, Bradford McMullen, Josh Chrysler, Riki Saltzman, and Steven Hatcher festival hosting, 4Rivers Cultural Center, June 23, 2018.

 

I had a busy winter and spring as the contract staff folklorist for the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Oregon. Through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, I have been able to continue my work to develop programs celebrating and supporting folklife and traditional culture in eastern Oregon.  This past year, I developed both an exhibit on regional folklife and a day-long folklife festival.

The exhibit, Buckaroo and Ranching Folklife of the Four Rivers Region, features traditional arts and skills associated with buckaroos and the ranching world. Crafts such as silversmithing, rawhide braiding, and saddle making each have qualities specific to this corner of the world. This exhibit was based on my own fieldwork, previous OFN fieldwork, and a smaller Buckaroo exhibit that Adrienne Decker developed during her Summer Folklife Fellowship at OFN. At this writing, the exhibit is on view at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. In the future, Four Rivers plans to travel the exhibit to other local and regional museums, libraries, and schools.

Following the theme of regional culture, I also developed a day-long Tradition Keeper’s Folklife Festival, held Saturday, June 23rdat the Four Rivers Cultural Center. This extremely rural region nourishes an incredible diversity of folklife, which we worked to represent in our programming. The festival brought in many of the buckaroo artists featured in the exhibit to demonstrate their various traditions, which ranged from Western saddle making and Paiute basketry to foodways from Japanese mochi and to Basque paella. Meanwhile, multiple performance areas featured traditional artists and their verbal or musical traditions including cowboy poetry, Mexican dance, Japanese Taiko drumming, and Paiute storytelling. Thanks to these culture keepers, the Four Rivers staff, OFN staff, and folklorist Steven Hatcher of the Idaho Commission on the Arts—

all of whom helped facilitate the event—400-500 visitors interacted with and learned from community members and neighbors who practice traditional arts and skills.

Fortunately, we have secured funding from the NEA to continue this project, and planning for a Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival (Saturday, June 29, 2019) is underway. I am heading back to eastern Oregon to continue fieldwork and to identify additional traditional artists to feature at next year’s Festival. Stay tuned for more information as this project continues to develop!

Oregon artist awarded highest national honor in Folk and Traditional Arts

Emily West Hartlerode, OFN associate director

Palestinian embroiderer, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (middle), received one of only nine 2018 National Heritage Fellowship Awards. From left to right, NEA Chairman, Mary Anne Carter; Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim; NEA Folk & Traditional Arts director, Cliff Murphy.

September 26, 2018 marked an important event for OFN and for the state of Oregon, as one of our most talented culture keepers, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, received her National Heritage Fellowshipaward at our nation’s Capital. The NEA awarded Abbasi-Ghnaim the highest award the U.S. bestows upon traditional artists for her dedication to Palestinian Embroidery. Beyond being a master of this art form, Abbasi-Ghnaim is also dedicated to teaching and mentoring younger generations, including her own daughters, passing along not only the artistic knowledge but also the stories and history behind the patterns, colors, and designs. Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, has received many Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Master artist awards from OFN and the former Oregon Folklife Program at the Oregon Historical Society.

Abbasi-Ghnaim’s nomination represents a massive OFN team effort that Hillary Tully, last year’s talented Folklore graduate intern, coordinated, and OFN’s executive director, Riki Saltzman guided. We pulled in letters of support from as far away as Paris and London, and engaged the invaluable assistance of Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim’s daughter Wafa Ghnaim; her photos and stories of her mother’s workwere critical to this effort.

Accompanied by her sister, three daughters (one from Germany), and three grandchildren, Abbasi-Ghnaim accepted her medal from NEA Chairman, Mary Anne Carter, and Folk & Traditional Arts director, Cliff Murphy. To watch her heartfelt acceptance speech, click here.

A reception and banquet followed in the ornate Great Hall of the Library of Congress where one of Governor Kate Brown’s staff was in attendance to personally congratulate Abbasi-Ghnaim. Two nights later, the nine awardees took their turns on stage. Abbasi-Ghnaim explained her tradition art, showed examples, and described how Palestinian embroidery employs traditional designs to convey cultural meaning and messages among women.

It was an honor to witness Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim share her tradition and thank the American people for valuing the diversity of cultures that make us unique as individuals and bring us together as a rich nation of people from around the world. We are proud of Oregon’s NHF awardee, grateful for the opportunity to nominate her for this recognition and overjoyed by the outpouring of support that rained down upon Abbasi-Ghnaim from so many elected government officials, friends, and family.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim’s family celebrating the honor with her.

Letter of congratulations from Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown.

FY19 Funding: NEA Folk & Traditional Arts Partnership Award to OFN with additional funding from the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, the Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund, and the Oregon Historical Society

Riki Saltzman, OFN executive director

The Oregon Folklife Network is thrilled to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $40,000 to the Oregon Folklife Network for FY19 to support ourTraditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Culture Fest, and partnerships with Oregon cultural organizations. Additional funding from the Oregon Arts Commission ($35,000), Oregon Cultural Trust ($20,000), and the Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund ($20,000) as well as the Oregon Historical Society ($15,000) and ongoing support from the University of Oregon make it possible for us to support 8 TAAP teams, 6 Culture Fests in regions where we’ve been conducting our statewide folklife survey, and a spring 2019 gathering of Oregon’s TAAP masters. This support also helps us to support the ever-growing Culture Keepers Roster, and an ongoing partnership with eastern Oregon’s Four Rivers Cultural Center.

 

We’ll be announcing our FY19 TAAP teams soon along with our call for new applications for FY20!

Community Scholars in the Portland Metro at IRCO

Thanks to the diligent fieldwork of folklorists Nancy Nusz, Douglas Manger, and Makaela Kroin, OFN was able to invite several recommended community scholars from the Portland Metro for our first training workshop of its kind. Twelve of us gathered on Sunday, June 3, 2018 to talk about our traditions, our cultures, and how to document them. We learned about Asian Indian fashion and henna, Mexican ballet folklórico, and more.  After introductions and some pointers about ethnography, we paired off to interview each other about the meaningful objects everyone was asked to bring. After much intense conversation, curious questions, and laughter, the group created a wonderful collective pop-up exhibit, complete with labels. Sushmita Podar took charge of creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement that showcased the diversity of backgrounds and the many things we all value.

Thanks to all who took part, including folklorist Tiffany Purn; OFN intern Brandie Roberts; historian Nikki Mandell;  business owner, Bollywood dancer,  and henna expert Sushmita Podar; librarian and community worker Rita Martinez-Salas; folklórico dancers Kenya Marquez, Gloria Vilchis, and Kelly Cowan; and Washington Co. Cultural Coalition members Sharon Morgan and Nancy Schick. This workshop was funded in part by a Folk & Traditional Arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Attendees group photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFN at the 2018 FisherPoets Gathering

Cloudy weather couldn’t dim our enjoyment of the FisherPoets Gathering

Every year, the FisherPoets Gathering brings together fishermen from around the world to Astoria, OR during the last weekend in February to share their poetry, prose, and song and to celebrate the commercial fishing industry. This year’s FisherPoets Gathering featured over 100 performers at 8 different venues, workshops, a poetry slam, and the ever-popular Saturday night poetry contest. For the 5th year running, Oregon Folklife Network staff, students, and volunteers were all there to help document the weekend.

OFN Executive Director Riki Saltzman, Graduate Assistant Brad McMullen, OFN Program Manager Alina Mansfield, students Brandie Roberts and Kayleigh Graham, and volunteer folklorist Tiffany Purn spent the weekend experiencing the events and interviewing fisherpoets, documenting their poetry and their commercial fishing heritage. We got to see a number of fantastic performances from fisherpoets like Harlan Bailey, Rich Bard, Moe Bowstern, Meezie Hermansen, Tom Hilton, Cary Jones, Rob Seitz, and Cowboy Poet-in-Residence Ron McDaniel.

One event that stood out for first-timer Kayleigh Graham was the Strength of the Tides workshop, which focused on empowering women fishermen (their gender-preferred term) and other women who work in maritime industries. Strength of the Tides was well supported outside of its workshop too, with the movement getting shout-outs at performances throughout the weekend and lots of sightings of the new t-shirt.

For graduate student Brandie Roberts, another first-timer who described it as a weekend of “heartfelt expression,” what really stood out was her interview with fisherpoet Harlan Bailey. She writes, “For [Harlan], as with many others, gathering as the collective Fisherpoets means creating a space that staves off alienation and allows transformation – from the quotidian to the symbolic, and the mundane to the meaningful. Harlan Bailey will be back next year, and I’ll be in the audience to cheer him on.

(From L to R) Brandie Roberts, Brad McMullen, ED Riki Saltzman, Kayleigh Graham, & Tiffany Purn

As always, the FisherPoets Gathering is a great chance for fishermen to celebrate their industry and the art that they create in isolation and share as a community. The OFN is proud to attend every year and help document the stories of the men and women of the commercial fishing fleet, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s gathering!

Former OFN Staff Member Makaela Kroin Gets Job with Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission

It is with great excitement that we announce that Makaela Kroin, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s Folklore Program and the former program manager at the Oregon Folklife Network, has accepted a position as a public folklorist with the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission hired Kroin as the manager of the Folk & Traditional Arts Program. Founded in 2004 by public folklorist, Dr. Jens Lund, the Folk & Traditional Arts Program planted deep roots in state parks across Washington. Kroin, who started in January 2018, Makaela replaces Deborah Fant (one of OFN’s former contract folklorists), who retired in September 2017. Ryan Karlson, Parks’ Director of Interpretive Services, says “We are quite excited to have Makaela Kroin coming to Washington State Parks to lead our Folk & Traditional Arts Program. We look forward to building new partnerships and the reach of Folk & Traditional Arts programming within our diverse state park system.”

Kroin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Smith College, a Master’s Degree in Information and Communication Science from Ball State University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Folklore from the University of Oregon. During her time as Oregon Folklife Network’s Summer Folklore Fellow (2016) and Program Manager, Kroin conducted fieldwork, produced exhibits, coordinated public programs, wrote grants, and did extensive community outreach.

Kroin credits her mentors at the University of Oregon and the OFN for her success, “I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with world class scholars in the Folklore Program at the University of Oregon as well as the dedicated staff and interns at the OFN. It was the practical experience that I gained through internships and fellowships at the OFN that gave me the professional skills, the extensive network, and the confidence to flourish in the field of Public Folklore.”

At Washington State Parks, Kroin is responsible for coordinating the statewide Folk and Traditional Arts program and related community partnership development efforts. In 2018, she will oversee a packed schedule including annual events and festivals such as the Salish Sea Native American Cultural Celebration, Cambodian Cultural Celebration, and the American Roots Concert Series, as well as a collaboration with New Old Time Chautauqua to tour Washington State Parks and small towns in the North Central and North regions of Washington as well as the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation.

Willamette Valley Folklife Survey Project Folklorists, Spring 2018

Amy Howard

Amy Howard received a BA in Anthropology from Brigham Young University and an MA in American Studies and Folklore from Utah State University. Her love of folklore fieldwork began in 2007 on an undergraduate field study in Guatemala. Since then, she has interned at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, coordinated public programs, and worked on multiple documentation projects in Utah and Idaho. In 2013, she collaborated with other fieldworkers documenting and producing a book on quilting traditions in the Bear River Heritage Area. In 2015, she and two of her students documented artistic, occupational, and recreational traditions in the Southeast Idaho Snake River Plain for the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Together they created an exhibit and organized public performances at the Idaho Museum of Natural History. She is currently documenting traditional Mexican music in Southern Idaho, also for the ICA. She has worked at Idaho State University as an instructor since 2014, teaching courses in folklore, English composition, and Spanish. Contact: maxwamy@isu.edu 


 

Alina Mansfield

Alina Mansfield, OFN’s Program Coordinator, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Folklore and Mythology from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in Folklore from the University of Oregon. As a master’s student, Mansfield produced a documentary about material culture and costume making in Biloxi, Mississippi’s Mardi Gras festival. Mansfield served as OFN’s Summer Folklore Fellow, where she co-produced OFN’s 2017 publication, Oregon Traditional Arts Apprenticeship MasterArtists: 2012-2016, and managed OFN’s Oregon Culture Keeper’s roster. Mansfield holds a concurrent position as Archivist in the Randall Mills Archive of orthwest Folklore. Previously she was a Circulation Supervisor at UC Berkeley’s Doe/Moffitt Libraries. Contact:alinam@uoregon.edu


 

Thomas Grant Richardson

Thomas Grant Richardson (MA, Indiana University, ABD Indiana University) is an independent folklorist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has done ethnographic fieldwork across the western United States, the American midwest, Appalachia, Canada, and Scandinavia.He has worked for New Mexico Arts, Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe), Utah Folk Arts Program, Missouri Folk Arts Program, and the Minnesota Arts Board. He previously served as the Curator of Education and Outreach at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol TN/VA. He is also currently working with the Vermont Folklife Center and a team of fieldworkers to re-launch a fieldwork gear review site aimed at the needs of ethnographers. Contact: tgrantrichardson@gmail.com