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Benjamin A. Botkin head and shoulders portrait
Folklorist Benjamin A. Botkin, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Botkin family.
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Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

Through the Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, the American Folklife Center (AFC) presents distinguished experts speaking about their research and current issues and best practices in folklore, folklife, ethnomusicology, and related fields. Lectures are recorded for the AFC archive and posted on the Library's website. (See below for list of speakers and topics.) The series honors Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975), a pioneering folklorist who headed the Library's Archive of American Folksong from 1942-1945.


2018 Botkin Lectures

I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, Rick Massimo (lecture and book signing)

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Rick Massimo
Rick Massimo
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Feb 21, 2018, Noon – 1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

Journalist and author Rick Massimo discusses the history of the Newport Folk Festival, an American musical institution that began more than a half century ago and continues to influence our understanding of folk music today. Drawing on his extensive interviews and archival research about the festival, which served as the basis of his 2017 book, I Got a Song, the author details how the American folk music scene has evolved over the decades, absorbing influences from rock and traditional music as well as the now legendary singer-songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s. He recounts some of the many stories about fabled Newport Festival performances, and explores how the iconic festival has reemerged as an influential focal point for a new generation of performers and fans. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

 

Picturing America:  Portraits of National Endowment for the Arts Folk Masters, Barry Bergey, NEA Director of Folk and Traditional Arts (Retired) and Tom Pich, Documentary Photographer

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Photograph of a woman holding a basket, standing in a field wit deer and mountains behind her.
Folk Masters: A Portrait of America, cover.
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Feb 28, 2018, Noon – 1:00 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

Photographer Tom Pich and folklorist Barry Bergey, co-authors of the recently published book Folk Masters: A Portrait of America, discuss their award-winning project.  Over the past 25 years, Pich has traveled across the country to the homes and studios of recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowships, the highest honor given to America’s folk and traditional artists. His photographs provide a unique portrait of their art, their personalities, and their culture. While each image tells a story on its own, Barry Bergey, the former Director of Folk and Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts, provides further insight into the lives of the featured artist as well as the remarkable stories behind each photograph. “Folk Masters” documents and honors the extraordinary women and men who take traditional arts to new heights while also ensuring their continuation from generation to generation.

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Portrait of a man standing by a large gate in a fence with a green field behind him.
Tom Pich
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Tom Pich, is a native New Yorker and a professional photographer. Over the past 25 years, in addition to his commercial work, he has traveled across America photographing hundreds of National Heritage Fellows for the National Endowment for the Arts and documenting artists on assignment for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. His portraiture of National Heritage Fellows is featured on the NEA website and has been exhibited at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Russell Senate Office Building. In 2017, one hundred of his NEA portraits were published in Folk Masters: A Portrait of America, a Indiana University Press publication co-authored with folklorist Barry Bergey.

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Barry Bergey
Barry Bergey
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Barry Bergey is a folklorist and the former Director of the Folk and Traditional Arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts. During his 29 year tenure at the NEA, he oversaw grantmaking programs, helped shape cultural policy, served as manager of the National Heritage Fellowship programs, and provided counsel to the U.S. Department of State on international cultural policy issues. Prior to joining the NEA, he served as the state folk arts coordinator for his home state of Missouri, where he first gained renown for documenting traditional musicians in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. Over the course of his distinguished career, Bergey has served as a fieldworker, festival organizer, radio producer, curator, and arts administrator. From 1995 to 2000 he served as a consultant to the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange for their Joint Plan on Yunnan National Cultures Project. His involvement in international arts policy issues also includes serving on the U.S. delegation for the UNESCO Intergovernmental Meetings of Experts to Draft a Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and acting as head of the U.S. delegation to the first meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Culture of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2003. In 2005, Bergey was a member of the U.S. delegation to UNESCO involved in drafting a proposed Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In 2014 he served as one of three U.S. delegates at the bi-annual OAS meeting of member cultural ministers in Haiti.

 

Botkin Lecture Series Past Events Archive

Includes descriptions of each lecture, photos, and informational essays from the event flyers. Links to webcasts of lectures are included as available.

2016 Lecture Series

2015 Lecture Series

2014 Lecture Series

2013 Lecture Series

2012 Lecture Series

2011 Lecture Series

2010 Lecture Series

2009 Lecture Series

2008 Lecture Series

2007 Lecture Series

2006 Lecture Series

2005 Lecture Series

2004 Lecture Series

 

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   February 21, 2018
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