Former Staff Updates
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!
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.