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2021 Folklife Interns: Welcome Aboard!

The American Folklife Center staff is thrilled to welcome our 2021 Folklife Interns: Camille Acosta and Kennedi Johnson. It was a competitive application pool this year, with over 350 candidates—and extremely difficult to make final selections! They’ve both officially “on-boarded” at this point and are navigating the challenges and opportunities of doing a full-time internship from afar, with Camille working from New Mexico and Kennedi from Indiana. A bit more about each of them follows below, and for background on the paid internships at the AFC, check out this post from back in 2018 when we launched the program.

Portrait photo of young woman

Camille Acosta, one of the 2021 Folkife Interns. Image courtesy of Camille Acosta.

Camille Acosta recently graduated with her MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University (yay!) and notes

Folk studies is so important because it highlights the significance of feelings and experience for us human beings, offering a platform for meaning to be shared and understood. Whether it be terrifying legends like La Llornoa or traditional foodways such as pan dulce, my own Mexican American culture benefits from sharing traditions and stories by giving us the opportunity to communicate.

Asked what she’s hoping to get out of her time with AFC, Camille says:

What I hope to get out of my internship experience with the AFC is to learn more about communities and their intricacies. Both through technology and interpersonal communication, I want to widen my own understanding of the folklore world in general. Considering I’ve only been working within the field “technically” for the past two years, I can’t wait to further my professional growth and learn from the best. My goal is to be immersed in folklore this summer, as well as be immersed in people’s narratives.

Kennedi Johnson is doctoral candidate in the Ethnomusicology Ph.D. program at Indiana University, having just passed her qualifying exams (way to go!). Of her path leading toward this point, she told us:

Before coming to Indiana University to work on my graduate degree, I was a music education major who specialized in elementary music

Portrait photo of young woman.

Kennedi Johnson, one of the 2021 Folklife Interns. Photo courtesy Kennedi Johnson.

education. I was especially interested in the curation of educational spaces that centered anti-racist pedagogies. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue or expand upon this work in graduate school, however, my advisors– Dr. Alisha Jones, Dr, Fernando Orejuela, Dr. Daniel Reed, and Dr. Valerie Grim– have allowed me to craft, develop, and build upon research that thinks about the ways in which (mis)hearings of Black girls as inherently sassy, angry, and/or disrespectful affects their ability to learn (and be heard) in the US school system.

Thinking about what she wants to get out of her internship with us, Kennedi says:

I am excited to get more experience working within the public sector as someone situated between Black studies and ethnomusicology. I have always envisioned that I would eventually work in a museum, archive, or a library. I am looking forward to getting a better idea of what this future can look like for me.

Join all of the AFC staff in welcoming Camille and Kennedi into the fold!

Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

This guest post comes from Todd Harvey, a Reference Specialist and the curator of Lomax collections at the American Folklife Center. To the Librarian of Congress March 21, 1940 Alan Lomax has in Washington with him today and tomorrow a folk singer for whose excellence he vouchers. This singer, Woodie Guthrie by name, is willing […]

AFC Fellowship and Award Recipients 2021

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of its three competitive annual fellowships and awards programs: the Archie Green Fellowships, the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award, and Blanton Owen Fund Award. This year, these three awards went to nine projects throughout the […]

“God put the good stuff where lazy people can’t have any”: Exploring West Virginia Foodways in a New AFC Film Series

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, […]

August Online Symposium Will Feature Folklore Podcasters and Social Media Leaders

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce Traditional Folklore in a Digital World, a two-part symposium on August 17 and 24 examining some of the ways folklore is spread, discussed, and transformed in the digital environment. The symposium will bring together leading podcasters and influential figures in social media who are helping define what folklore is in the 21st century. It will consist of two Zoom-based panels, one on podcasts and the other on social media. Each panel brings together four compelling leaders in online folklore, who will present a brief rundown of what they do, and then take questions from the audience. AFC staff, including me, will be there to moderate and direct the questions. The podcast panel features the hosts of Lore, Crimelore, The Folklore Podcast, and Jack Dappa Blues and the African American Folklorist. The Social Media panel features folks from Folklore Thursday, Folk Horror Revival, and the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. We hope you’ll join us for a fascinating discussion. Both panels are free and open to the public, but registration is required.  (Don’t worry, the links to register are in this post!) 

The Power of Words, the Power of Belonging: What the Navajo Code Talkers Taught Me

The following is a guest post by Nathan Cross, VHP Archivist and primary author of VHP’s Navajo Code Talkers LibGuide. The Veterans History Project (VHP) is pleased to announce a new resource designed to introduce VHP’s holdings related to the veterans known as Navajo Code Talkers. These veterans, Native Americans who served in the Pacific […]

Arkansas: Home to Good Sweet Tea, Southern Hospitality and Amazing Veterans

The following is a guest blog post by Mitch Friesenborg, a summer intern in the office of U.S. Senator John Boozman (AR). He attends Harding University, and is a member of the Arkansas National Guard. In the year 2021, the United States is in relative peace. No teenager today is anxious at the chance they […]

Langston Hughes on the Folklife Today Podcast

Season 3, Episode 8 of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at the link from this post to the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher. In this episode  John Fenn and I, along with guests Langston Collin Wilkins and Sophie Abramowitz, look at Langston Hughes as a “Hidden Folklorist.” As usual, I’ll present links to the relevant blog posts and audio selections in this post!