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2019 Election: Amanda Dargan

Amanda Dargan, Education Director, City Lore

Amanda Dargan has been a public sector folklorist and educator for forty years. As Education Director for City Lore, she designs folk arts education programs that serve over 10,000 New York City students each year and she provides professional development for teaching artists and classroom teachers. She also has taught folklore as an adjunct at several universities, has published numerous articles on folklore and education, and is a co-author of City Play, winner of an Opie Prize. She curates exhibits and produces documentary films, including In The Moment: Poetry Duels and Improvisations. She has a PhD in Folklore from Penn and an MA in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Today, there are many urgent challenges that will have a dramatic impact on our country and on the future of the people, places, and planet that we hold dear. I believe that the field of folklore has much to contribute to and to learn from active participation in addressing critical issues of our time. The urgency of the planet’s health needs to be in the foreground of all other decisions as everything we know and do will feel its impact. One way to do this is through intentional partnerships with professional and community organizations and activists who share our goals and concerns.

During my 40-year career in public sector folklore and education, primarily as Education Director of City Lore, I’ve learned valuable lessons from the mistakes and successes of the partnerships I’ve been a part of. My most satisfying work in arts education has been the result of school partners whose ideas and constraints forced us to be more flexible and to think outside of our comfort zone in co-designing our folk arts education programs. I learned from those partners and the children they serve how much the field of folklore has to offer and to learn from K–12 education but also fields such as health and immigration policy.  An example is City Lore’s partnership with the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation on a program to create e-learning courses taught by folklorists, folk artists, and traditional healers. 

If I am elected to the board I will use my experience developing partnerships at City Lore to assist AFS in identifying and building relationships with partners with whom we can co-design initiatives to address challenges such as climate change, the displacement of communities, immigration policy, healthcare, and equity in education. These partnerships will enable us to harness the expertise folklorists have to offer and, through partnerships, make a greater difference both locally and globally.


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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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