About the Mag

In collaboration with the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Kentucky Folklife Network, Kentucky Folklife digital magazine welcomes contributions from network members, folklorists, students, Community Scholars, artists, and community partners throughout Kentucky. Learn more about the editors for our inaugural issue below.

Mark Brown, the Kentucky Arts Council’s Folk and Traditional Arts Director, has worked with folk artists and communities in the Commonwealth since 2001, when he earned a master’s degree in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University. He manages the Kentucky Community Scholars program, the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, and folk arts traveling exhibits. Mark’s interests in music, writing, audio, and working with diverse traditional artists are at the heart of his efforts with Arts Council goals and programs.

Ellie Dassler is a graduate student in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University. She is a former Editorial Assistant for the Journal of American Folklore, the 2020 Summer Folklife Intern at the North Carolina Arts Council, and the current Graduate Assistant for the Kentucky Folklife Program.

Ann K. Ferrell is an Associate Professor of Folk Studies, Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology, Western Kentucky University. She holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State University and an MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, and she is the author of Burley: Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century (University Press of Kentucky, 2013). She was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of American Folklore, the flagship journal of the American Folklore Society, from 2016-2020. 

Bob Gates is the founder and former director of the Kentucky Folklife Program, which began as an interagency program of the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Historical Society. After receiving his masters in Folklife Studies in 1983, he has served as a Folklorist-in-the-Schools in New York, a Scholar-in-Residence in Tennessee, and the State Folklorist for Louisiana. Since his retirement in 2013, he has served on the Board of the Kentucky Craft History and Education Association, is current Director of Gates Cultural Contractors, and is now a Commissioner on the Kentucky Oral History Commission.

Sarah Schmitt is the Oral History Administrator for the Kentucky Oral History Commission at the Kentucky Historical Society, a program dedicated to reaching across the Commonwealth to record and preserve the diverse stories that are a part of Kentucky’s rich and colorful history. Previously, she served as the Community Arts and Access Director for the Kentucky Arts Council and as a Folklife Specialist for the Kentucky Folklife Program. She is a founding steering committee member of the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History and a master’s degree in Folk Studies, both from Western Kentucky University. She lives in Frankfort with her son Everett, where she is a Cub Scout Den Leader and avid camper (usually a happy one).

Delainey Bowers is the Managing Editor of Kentucky Folklife and an independent folklorist working in southeastern Kentucky. As a recipient of the 2019 Archie Green Fellowship award from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, Delainey is currently conducting fieldwork for a project which documents the occupational folklore of independent professional wrestlers throughout central Appalachia. With a background in archives and public librarianship, her interests rest in community curatorship, progressive preservation efforts, and applied folklore practices.