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Lisa L. Higgins

Lisa L. HigginsLisa L. Higgins, Director, Missouri Folk Arts Program, Columbia, Missouri (1999-present)—a joint program of the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Museum of Art & Archaeology at the University of Missouri

Education and Accomplishments: PhD English (Folklore & Rhetoric), University of Missouri (2008); MA English, Arkansas State University (1988); BA English, Arkansas State University (1987). American Folklore Society member (1992-present). Previous public programs positions: Program manager, Southern Arts Federation (1997-1999); Intern and GRA, Missouri Folk Arts Program (1994-1996). Graduate Internship Instructor, University of Missouri (2000-present). Previous teaching positions (full-time, part-time, adjunct): Georgia State University and Cobb County (GA) Community College (1997-98); University of Missouri (1990-97); Stephens College (1996); Arkansas State University (1988-90); and Mississippi County (AR) Community College (1989). Publications: co-authored chapter with Susan Eleuterio in Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum, (2011); various book reviews co-authored with Teresa Hollingsworth (Western Folklore); Encyclopedia of Women’s Folklore and Folklife entries (2008). Service to the field: Journal of American Folklore Exhibits and Events Review Editor (2010-present); AFS section co-convener, Folklore and Education (2010-2012); AFS nominating committee (2004-2005); National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Folk Arts Planning Committee (ongoing. Co-chair, 2013); and University of Missouri Student Folklore Society, Faculty Adviser (2012-present).

Statement: I just quietly celebrated my fourteenth year directing the Missouri Folk Arts Program—a public program supported by the state arts council, Missouri’s flagship university, and the National Endowment for the Arts—where I manage projects, budgets, and grants. My position as a university-based public folklorist is fairly unique, as I work in the company of another professional folklorist, two graduate research assistants, an undergraduate work study student, and (often) with independent folklorists via contract. Additionally, I find myself and our program lucky to have a supportive state arts council from the executive director, chair, and board to staff in every position. The same is true of our colleagues at the Museum. MU is the home of a decades-old academic folklore program housed in the Department of English, from which I myself gained an education, professional training, mentorship, and lifelong friendships and for which I strive to return multi-fold to the next generation of folklorists (at MU and beyond). Of course, I am also humbled to work with what Joe Wilson once dubbed "ordinary citizens of genius,” traditional artists across the state, as well as a wise cadre of community scholars and local culture advocates, all of whom continue my education far beyond the intersection of University and College avenues. I agreed to run for Executive Board with support from all corners and am honored by the nomination, especially within a slate of colleagues that I hold in high esteem. As a member of the Executive Board, I will be particularly committed to issues and tasks that sustain all corners of the field of folklore, especially as we navigate political, cultural, economic, and climate shifts.

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