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Sally Van de Water

Sally Van de Water

Independent Folklorist, New Park, Pennsylvania

Program Associate, Folk & Traditional Arts/ADA Coordinator at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland (2008-2012)

MA, Folk Studies, Western Kentucky University (2003), AB, Folklore and Folklife, Bryn Mawr College (1997). Previous positions include Folklife Program Coordinator at the Institute for Cultural Partnerships in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1997-2001), Director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program for the City of Boston (2003-2005), and folklorist for Bayshore Discovery Project (2005-2007) and The Nature Conservancy (2007-2008), both in New Jersey. Co-convener of the AFS Public Programs Section (2009-2011). Member of the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association Executive Board, the Advisory Committee for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s "The Will to Adorn” research and documentation project, and the Folk Arts Peer Group Planning Committee for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

I am passionately interested in the work of the Society and have been since I was an undergraduate student and assisted with the analysis of the Society’s 1996 membership surveys. With my fifteen years of experience wrangling folklorists, I have developed an excellent network of colleagues at every level around the nation. One of the most critical issues I see facing the Society is leadership, succession and transition in the field. Folklorists of my generation, and younger, have benefited from excellent models in our mentors’ generation, as they benefited from the invaluable leaders who shaped the field as it exists today. The Society can only benefit from a balance of emerging leaders alongside seasoned colleagues: we must consciously retain the hard-won lessons of our elders in every sector, and we also need to learn from mid-career and freshly-minted folklorists who have inherited these generations of lessons. I welcome this new generation as equals with regard to their ideas about the current state and future of our field and Society. As a member of the Nominating Committee, I will work with my colleagues to recruit a broad, inclusive Executive Board that will act on the field’s great potential to work across borders, engaging new colleagues, audiences and partners. Creating access to platforms and leadership for bright, articulate, thoughtful professionals—both emerging and established—will move the Society forward. With an expansive range of individuals on the Board, AFS broadens and deepens the field's reach, relevance, and ability to serve.

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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