|Laura Marcus Green|
LAURA MARCUS GREEN, Independent Folklorist, Santa Fe, New Mexico
MA, University of Texas at Austin, 1986; PhD, Indiana University, 1998. Currently, I co-direct Building Cultural Bridges, a national initiative encouraging interdisciplinary support for refugee and immigrant arts and heritage through publications and community-based workshops. I am also community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience. I have recently conducted folklife surveys for the Iowa Arts Council, the South Carolina Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts—for which I wrote a series of online essays. Previously, I was program associate at the Fund for Folk Culture. My recent publications include "Back to the Roots: Weaving Art and Community to Revitalize Rio Grande Pueblo Red Willow Baskets,” New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails, and The Art of Community; Creativity at the Crossroads of Immigrant Cultures and Social Services. I have curated exhibits including The Comforts of Home: Crafting a New Life in the Treasure Valley (Idaho State Historical Museum/Idaho Arts Commission/Idaho Office for Refugees), and The Lingo of Our Calling; The Legacy of Cowboy Poetry (Western Folklife Center/Nevada Arts Council Nevada Traveling Exhibition Program).
My passion for working at the intersection of folklore and social services grows from my experience directing the Arts for New Immigrants Program, a collaboration between the Oregon Folklife Program and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. I am heartened by a growing trend in our field towards interdisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration, as colleagues work with allies in health care, education, and immigration, among others. It seems like the American Folklore Society is blossoming with new initiatives that reflect this growth. Through its many projects, the Society supports members at all stages of their careers, while inviting participation and understanding from beyond the field. Our recently retooled website is abundant with resources; its expanded capacity generates dynamic exchange. I am especially appreciative of the Society’s nimbleness in responding to the ever-changing interests and needs of its constituency.
As a member of the AFS Nominating Committee, I would embrace the opportunity to help shape the Society’s leadership. I see as imperative the Nominating Committee’s continued efforts towards diversifying our leadership, and by extension, our membership and the Society’s work. To that end, I would work with fellow Committee members to recruit leadership for the Society that is not only culturally diverse, but also reflects our field’s diversity in professional focus, geography, and experience. In addition to the challenges of diversifying our field, I see the importance of unifying it, by working to bridge the gap between academic and public folklore. In order for our field to grow, we need to build from within our incredible membership while reaching beyond it to remain relevant to the larger world around us.