In January 2015, WKU's Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology launched its first-ever winter term Study Away course. Lead by Professor Brent Bjorkman, Director of the Kentucky Museum and the Kentucky Folklife Program here on WKU's campus, nine Western Kentucky University Folk Studies graduate students descended upon Washington D.C. to learn about public folklore, historic preservation and cultural heritage policy from key players and decision-makers at the federal level. Specific cultural heritage institutions visited on the 2014 trip include the National Park Service, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Folkways Records/the Ralph Rinzler Archives, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and for the Humanities (NEH).
Throughout the course of the week, and in the weeks after, students each carried out
original investigative research projects in key aspects of contemporary public folklore,
historic preservation and cultural heritage policy matters. The group's findings were
presented to the Folk Studies community in early February! Click here to learn more about what we hope will become an ongoing Folk Studies tradition, and
to see photographs of our adventure by talented WKU Folk Studies graduate student
& photographer Eleanor Hasken! Thank you to DELO, Professor Bjorkman, the Department
of Folk Studies and Anthropology and our generous friends in Washington for making
this transformative course a reality!
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