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Greg C. Adams is the assistant archivist in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. His work focuses on the preservation processing of archival collections and providing records management support for staff. He holds a BA in music history from Youngstown State University (2001), a master’s degrees in library and information sciences (2004) and ethnomusicology (2012) from the University of Maryland, College Park. Greg’s ethnomusicological work is grounded in critical heritage research and programming focused on the multicultural history of the banjo. Highlights of his efforts include fieldwork in West Africa, developing a work plan for maintaining data about banjo-related material culture through an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, and working with banjo scholars Bob Winans and Pete Ross as guest curators for the 2014 Baltimore Museum of Industry exhibit Making Music: The Banjo in Baltimore and Beyond.


Diana Baird N’Diaye developed and leads The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity, a pan-institutional, multi-sited research project that included a program in the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Her training in anthropology, folklore, and visual studies and her experience as a studio craft artist support over thirty years of fieldwork, exhibitions, programs, and publications focusing on expressive culture in Africa, the Caribbean, and their diasporas in the United States; children’s play and performance; and dress traditions and fashion in Oman, Mali, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Japan. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, she led the Smithsonian’s support of Haitian traditional artists at the Folklife Festival. She has served on national and international juries, advisory, policy, and funding panels including UNESCO, the NEA, and the American Folklore Society. She is a graduate of the 2010 Smithsonian Leadership Development Program. She holds a PhD in anthropology and visual studies from The Union Institute.


Betty Belanus joined the Center in 1987 and has curated many Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs including Massachusetts (1988), Family Farms (1991), Working at the Smithsonian (1996), African Immigrants (1997), New Hampshire (1999), Water Ways (2004); The Roots of Virginia Culture (2007); Wales Smithsonian Cymru (2009); Smithsonian Inside-Out (2010); and Campus and Community (2012). She is currently developing programs on traditional medicine and occupations of the film industry. Other past work includes the Folklore Summer Institute for Community Scholars (1989, 1990); teacher seminars during the Festival; education kits such as Borders and Identity and Discovering Our Delta; an online Water Ways exhibition; and educational features for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Publications include the novel Seasonal (2002) and co-authorship of the children’s book Caravan to America: The Living Arts of the Silk Road (2002). Betty was formerly the state folk arts coordinator for the Indiana Arts Commission. She holds an MA and PhD in folklore from Indiana University.


Marquinta Bell joined the Center in January 2004, serving as an administrative specialist. She manages accounting, budgetary, and financial matters for the Center. Her financial background includes positions at the Smithsonian’s Office of the Comptroller, Cellular One, and AT&T Wireless.


Halle Butvin joined the Center as director of special projects in 2016, following three years as an advisor at the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations. She is responsible for expanding the reach of the cultural sustainability work around the world, designing collaborative projects to support communities, safeguard their heritage, promote cultural expression, and elevate cultural practices to improve local economies. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Halle spent ten years designing and implementing impact-driven international development programs in East Africa and Asia, ranging from democracy and governance to biodiversity conservation and economic growth. She holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from The Ohio State University.


Josué Castilleja establishes and designs the visual branding for the Center and provides art direction for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. A graduate of the Corcoran College of Art + Design, he joined the Center as senior designer in 2009 and became the art director in 2012. He brings to this position 20 years of design and art direction experience with Scholastic Publishing, Inc. NYC, Bussolati Associates, and the U.S. Department of State. As of 2019 Josue has art directed and designed graphics for over 30 unique cultural programs for the Smithsonian.


Cecille Chen joined Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 2013. She is responsible for royalty payments to the artists and songwriters who have contributed to Smithsonian Folkways’ growing collection of music. She also assists with pre-production by drafting contracts and researching copyright information. Prior to joining Smithsonian Folkways, Cecille worked in entertainment law and artist management, handling contracts, licensing, publishing, copyrights, and tour logistics. Originally from the Philippines, Cecille came to Washington, D.C., to pursue an undergraduate business degree at Georgetown University. She holds a law degree from The George Washington University School of Law and supplemented her academic work with internships at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Public Broadcasting Service, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.


Logan Clark joined Smithsonian Folkways in August 2017. She graduated with a PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA in March 2017, focusing on marimba music in contemporary Mayan migrant communities in Los Angeles and Guatemala. She has also conducted graduate research on Mayan traditional dance as intangible cultural heritage, as well as independent radio and tastemaking. She has administrative and programming experience with a variety of organizations, including the World Musical Instrument Center at UCLA, Ethnomusicology Review, the Fowler Museum, and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Logan plays and sings mariachi music, and was a member of UCLA’s official mariachi, Mariachi de Uclatlán, for six years.


Amalia Córdova joined the Center in 2016. She co-directs the Mother Tongue Film Festival, a project of the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices initiative, and is currently the Center’s Chair of Cultural Research and Education. She has co-curated various festivals and showcases of Indigenous film, and co-curated two On the Move immigration and migration programs for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. She began her career at the Smithsonian in 2001, as a Latin American specialist for the Film + Video Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. She has taught courses on Indigenous film at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and served as assistant director of New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She holds an MA in performance studies and a PhD in cinema studies from New York University. She is from Santiago, Chile.


Erica Daudelin joined the Center as advancement associate in July 2018. Previously, she was the development assistant at the George Washington University, where she supported both the Graduate School of Education and Human Development as well as the Graduate School of Political Management. Additionally, she served as an advancement intern for the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from Clemson University and a master’s in museum management with an emphasis on fundraising and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the George Washington University.


Jim Deutsch has curated several Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs, including National World War II Reunion (2004), Forest Service (2005), (as co-curator) Mekong River (2007), NASA (2008), Peace Corps (2011), Hungary (2013), and China (2014). He has worked in many other capacities—including foodways coordinator, accessibility coordinator, program coordinator, researcher/presenter, and sound engineer—on other Festivals dating back to 1991. At other times, Deutsch has worked overseas (including three stints as a Fulbright Scholar), teaching classes on American folklore, film, history, and literature at universities in Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. He is currently adjunct faculty in George Washington University’s American Studies Department (where he received his PhD in 1991). Overall, he has held more than sixty different jobs, including newspaper reporter (Indiana and Mississippi); librarian (Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.); park ranger/forest ranger (Alaska, Arizona, and Mississippi); census enumerator (Washington, D.C.); and Monorail operator (Walt Disney World).


Cristina Díaz-Carrera joined the Center in 2007. She has worked as a program coordinator/curatorial assistant for several Folklife Festival programs, including Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150 (2012), Colombia: The Nature of Culture (2011), México (2010), and Perú: Pachamama (2015). Prior to becoming staff, Cristina worked various stints as a Center intern and contractor on Latino music recordings and programs. She holds a BA in ethnomusicology from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an MA in Caribbean/Latin American studies from New York University. She enjoys producing video pieces, content-rich websites, and Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs, and she moonlights as a photographer and video production assistant in her spare time.


Toby Dodds came to the Center in 2001. Since that time he has helped introduce many technology innovations including the launch of Smithsonian Global Sound and the digitization of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, he was employed by the Experience Music Project, a music museum in Seattle. He holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a master’s degree in library and information science from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.


Claudia Foronda joined the staff of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 2012. She works with the mail order and marketing teams and brings an extensive background in customer relations. She previously worked in the graphics and customer service departments for the e-commerce site Birthday in a Box. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with an integrative arts degree.


Haili Francis joined the Center in 2019 to lead the advancement department as the major gift officer. Previously, she worked in advancement at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) on nationally touring exhibitions such as Men of Change, Robert Blackburn & Modern Printmaking, and The Negro Motorist Green Book. As an arts advocate and public servant, she was appointed to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Board in 2016 to help steward a $30 million budget for arts funding. As a proponent of inclusive practices within the cultural sector, she was invited to serve on the American Alliance of Museums’ National Program Committee for the annual Museum Conference in 2017 under the theme, “Gateways for Understanding: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion.” Haili studied fine arts and nonprofit management and policy at the University of Southern California and has a master’s in museum studies from Harvard.


Beshou Gedamu joined Smithsonian Folkways in 2014. She holds a BA in information systems management from Bridgewater College in Virginia. She previously worked as the marketing director for fashion company Bernos, social media manager for Brooklyn Bodega and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, and a digital media specialist for D.C.-based production company HedRush Music, working on the D.C. Loves Dilla concert. Beshou was born in the Ivory Coast with family heritage from Ethiopia.


William Griffin joined Smithsonian Folkways in 2013 and works with creative professionals in film, television, theater, video games, and advertising, as well as educators, scholars, and museum curators, to pair recordings from the Smithsonian Folkways catalog with a variety of visual and multimedia projects. Previously, William worked for nearly a decade in a variety of roles such as A&R, production management, and as director of music licensing at ESL Music—the independent Washington, D.C., record label founded by electronic dance music group Thievery Corporation. William earned a BA in English from The George Washington University, and has worked as a political media analyst and as a professional club DJ playing venues nationwide, including a longtime weekly residency at D.C.’s Eighteenth Street Lounge.


Madison Hart joined Smithsonian Folkways in November 2017 to assist with royalties and financial operations. She holds a dual degree in woodwind performance and business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked for the GEICO Claims Department in the Management Development Program and as a private flute instructor. She has been performing and competing as a flutist in the Mid-Atlantic area since 2003.


Justin Hensley joined the Center in March 2014 as a member of the Folklife Festival’s seasonal technical staff and now works as the Festival operations manager. Working from within the Center, across the Smithsonian, and with outside partners and vendors, he strives to unify the individual efforts required to produce the Festival. Justin earned his BS in theatre, with a focus on design and technology, from Ball State University in 2010.


Elisa Hough joined the Center in 2013 as the editor and web/social media manager. She holds an MA in arts journalism from the University of Southern California and a BA in English from the University of California, Davis, where she dedicated most of her time to the community radio station KDVS. As an audio and ethnomusicology enthusiast, she has conducted cultural fieldwork in Okinawa, Japan, performed with multiple Indonesian gamelan ensembles, researched extensively gamelan’s significance in the United States, and kept a recording blog, Adventures in Audio. She maintains the “Folklife West” office in Santa Cruz, California.


Marjorie Hunt holds an MA and PhD in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Since joining the Center in 1982, she has curated numerous Folklife Festival programs, including The Grand Generation: Memory, Mastery and Legacy (1984), White House Workers (1992), Masters of Traditional Arts (1994), Working at the Smithsonian (1996), Masters of the Building Arts (2001), and Carriers of Culture: Living Native Basket Traditions (2006). She was co-curator of the 2013 program One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage. Her publications include The Grand Generation: Memory, Mastery Legacy and The Stone Carvers: Masters Craftsmen of Washington National Cathedral. She is the author of The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide. Marjorie is the co-producer and director of the documentary films The Stone Carvers, The Grand Generation, Workers at the White House, and Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts.


Sojin Kim joined the Center in 2011. She previously worked as a public historian in Los Angeles, collaborating with diverse local communities on exhibitions, documentation and media projects, and public programs. From 2008 to 2010, she was curator of history at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. From 1998 to 2008, she was curator at the Japanese American National Museum. Sojin holds a PhD in folklore and mythology from University of California, Los Angeles. She serves on the board of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.


Fred Knittel joined the staff of Smithsonian Folkways in May 2016 to assist with marketing and distribution activities related to the extensive back catalog. He holds an MBA and a BS in music industry from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the organization, Fred worked as the volunteer and student coordinator at WXPN, a leading East Coast non-commercial radio station. At WXPN, he continues to host a weekly “folk and beyond” radio program called Folkadelphia.


Robert Leopold provides leadership for curatorial research, education, archives, and cultural sustainability programs. Earlier, he directed the National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives, where he contributed his expertise to digital imaging, knowledge repatriation, and language revitalization initiatives. Robert also serves on the steering committee of Recovering Voices, a Smithsonian initiative that promotes the documentation and revitalization of the world’s endangered languages and the knowledge preserved in them. Robert is a former Fulbright Fellow who conducted ethnographic research on social organization, ritual and cosmology in Liberia. His research interests include ethnographic and indigenous archives, digital repatriation, information ethics, and intangible cultural heritage. Robert holds a BA in English literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a PhD in cultural anthropology from Indiana University.


Helen Lindsay has worked in the mail order department of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings since 1999. Her duties include artist relations, quality control for artists and domestic accounts orders, and overall customer service.


Mary S. Linn joined the Center in 2014, working in endangered language documentation and revitalization along with the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices initiative. She is also on the steering committee for the National Breath of Life Archival Institute. From 2002 to 2014, she was the curator of Native American languages at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. There she worked collaboratively with indigenous communities and museum programming, initiating the Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop and the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair. Her publications include Living Archives: A Community-based Language Archive Model (2014) and contributions in Yuchi Folklore (Jason Baird Jackson, 2013). Mary holds a B.A. in American studies from Wichita State University and an MA and PhD in linguistics from the University of Kansas, and credits the Euchee (Yuchi), Oklahoma Seminole, Absentee Shawnee, Osage, and Kiowa, among others, for most of her training.


Michael Atwood Mason joined the Center in 2013. He began his career at the Smithsonian in 1992, working first at the Anacostia Community Museum and then, starting in 1994, at the National Museum of Natural History, where he served as exhibit developer and later as director of exhibitions. He has developed, curated, and managed more than sixty exhibitions, including African Voices, Ritmos de Identidad/Rhythms of Identity, Discovering Rastafari, and the inaugural exhibition at the Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture. Since 1987, he has been studying the religions and cultures of the African diaspora, and he is the author of Living Santería: Rituals and Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002) and the cultural blog Baba Who? Babalú!. He also teaches courses on the politics of representation and the development of community-based exhibitions in the cultural sustainability program at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. Michael holds a PhD in folklore, with a double minor in religion, from Indiana University.


Eddie Mendoza started working at the Center as a cashier in the Marketplace at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 1993 to 1999. In 2000, he took on the role of food concessions coordinator, working closely with food vendors at the Festival, and since 2006 he has also served as festival services manager. His responsibilities include making sure Festival food vendors meet the requirements of the National Park Service and the Public Health Inspector while feeding thousands of people daily during the event.


Mary Monseur joined the Center in 1993. Together with her colleagues at Smithsonian Folkways, she has worked with scholars and artists worldwide to produce more than three hundred recordings. She received a BA in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona and an MA in English with a folklore concentration from George Mason University.


Sabrina Lynn Motley joined the Center in 2013 as director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Previously, she was senior director of programs and exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center, overseeing content-rich public programs and exhibitions highlighting Houston’s expanding connections with Asia. Before the Texas Center, Sabrina was vice president of Vesper Society, a social justice foundation, and program and education director at the Japanese American National Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate). She curated public programs for the Getty Museum and community-based exhibitions for the California Endowment. Sabrina taught anthropology at Art Center College of Design and Otis Institute for Art and Design. She also hosted “The Global Village” on KPFK in Los Angeles. Sabrina earned a BA in world arts and cultures and an MA in African studies, both from UCLA. Currently she is a doctoral candidate in anthropology, conducting research on the interplay between religious faith, doubt, and social activism.


Tyler Nelson began working on the Folklife Festival technical crew in 2009, serving as exhibit worker, master carpenter, and shop foreman over the following four years. He returned in 2015 as technical director after two years in Lititz, Pennsylvania, working for the Tait Towers touring staging company. Born and raised in Middle Tennessee, he graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2010 with a BFA in technical theatre.


Anne Sandager Pedersen leads the Center’s program monitoring and evaluation efforts and coordinates international workshops and trainings. Working directly with a wide range of tradition bearers, she conducts field research and supports the design, development, and implementation of cultural sustainability projects to elevate traditional practices and improve local economies. Her current portfolio includes the Smithsonian Artisan Initiative’s Lag Zo Project, which supports ethnic Tibetan artisans in China, and the Sustaining Minoritized Languages in Europe (SMiLE) project. Originally from Denmark, Anne holds a BA in Danish literature and linguistics from University of Southern Denmark and an MA in modern culture and communication from Copenhagen University.


Cecilia Peterson is the digital projects archivist in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. Her work focuses on making collections more accessible to diverse audiences through digitization, description, and online resources. She manages photographic documentation at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, collaborates with the audiovisual archivist to process born-digital fieldwork and cultural sustainability projects, and oversees rights and reproductions of the collections. She also serves on the editorial board for Folklife Magazine and co-produces the FORKLIFE web series. She holds a BA in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a master’s in library science from University of Maryland, College Park.


Jeff Place has been at the Center’s Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections since 1988. He holds an MLS from the University of Maryland and specializes in sound archives. He oversees the cataloging of the Center's collections and has been involved in the compilation of almost sixty CDs of American music for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings including the Lead Belly Legacy Series, Lead Belly Sings for Children; the Pete Seeger American Favorite Ballads series; and The Asch Recordings (Woody Guthrie). Place has been nominated for six GRAMMY Awards and twelve Indie Awards, winning two GRAMMYs and six Indies. He was one of the producers and writers of the acclaimed 1997 edition of the Anthology of American Folk Music and The Best of Broadside, 1962-1988 (2000). He has served on the curatorial team for a number of exhibitions including the traveling Woody Guthrie exhibition This Land is Your Land. In 2003, he co-curated the Smithsonian Folklife Festival program on Appalachian culture. In 2012, he produced and co-authored (with Robert Santelli) the publication and CD box set Woody at 100 and the Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Collection in 2014.


Nichole Procopenko is the program curator for the D.C. Music program of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, developing public programming highlighting music communities in Washington, D.C. In addition to work on several Festival programs, including Circus Arts, she has worked as an archivist with the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives, Dischord Records, Maryland Traditions, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Northern Virginia Folklife Archive. She holds a BA and an MA in English from California State University, Long Beach, and a graduate certificate in folklore from George Mason University.


Arlene Reiniger has been with the Center since 1982, when she worked with the participant staff for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. As program specialist, some of the projects she has coordinated have included the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings benefit album A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, a lecture series on contemporary South African society, and a multimedia education kit on Iowa folklife. As a Festival program coordinator, Arlene has worked on many music, state, regional, national, international, and thematic programs. In 2012, she curated the Festival program Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt. As intern coordinator, she has overseen the internships of hundreds of people with the Center, many of whom have continued work in the field. Arlene received her BA in anthropology from George Washington University in 1979.


Huib Schippers became director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 2016 after a long, diverse, and profound history of engagement with music in various cultural settings. Trained as a professional sitar player, he proceeded with partially overlapping careers in performance, teaching, research, journalism, the record trade, arts policy, community, and project management. After running a specialist record shop in Amsterdam, he founded and directed the World Music School in Amsterdam, worked in and with various conservatories, and was the driving force behind the World Music & Dance Centre in Rotterdam. He served as inaugural director of the innovative Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith University, where he led over a dozen large-scale research projects. These included the international collaboration Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures, the result of which was recently published in a 400-page volume of the same title through Oxford University Press.


Sayem Sharif joined Smithsonian Folkways in 2014 with over ten years of corporate accounting and business management experience. Prior to joining Folkways, Sayem worked in an outsourcing accounting firm as financial controller. His expertise includes management of staff, strategic planning, budget preparation, financial statement presentation, and tax preparation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of CPA, Maryland CPA, and Project Management Institute. Sayem is actively engaged with the Bangladeshi community of the D.C. metro area. He was involved in forming a nonprofit organization called Ektara, Inc., which provides a platform for upcoming talent through various folk-based cultural programs.


Ronnie Simpkins joined Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 1996, serving in mail order before taking over duties as dubbing engineer for the archival collection.


John Smith brings over two decades of music industry experience in his second tour of duty at Smithsonian Folkways, this time as Associate Director of Operations. In his first tour from 1999-2014, he served countless roles in the organization, including head of the sales department, international distribution manager, and manager of operations for the Sales & Mail Order division. Over the years, Smith produced and compiled numerous albums released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and has worked under all three directors of the organization since Folkways Records was acquired by Smithsonian in 1987. Outside of his time at Smithsonian Folkways, Smith applied his skills at numerous record labels and radio stations, in addition to co-founding with Dr. Erica Haskell the GRAMMY-nominated Free Dirt Records & Service Co. in 2006.


Claudia Telliho began her long relationship with the Smithsonian and the Center when she served as a participant coordinator for the Massachusetts program at the 1988 Folklife Festival. She spent four years with the National Council for the Traditional Arts as director of National Touring Programs before returning to the Smithsonian as an international program coordinator at Smithsonian Associates. She has been serving as administrative specialist since 2003.


Dave Walker joined the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections in 2014 as an audio preservation specialist after moving from Nashville, Tennessee. He holds a BS in audio engineering technology and BA in art history from Belmont University and an MA in museum studies from The George Washington University. His primary focus is the preservation, conservation, and digitization of historic audiovisual media such as open-reel tapes and instantaneous discs. He has also performed audio mastering on commercially released albums and independent films.


Sandy Wang joined the Center in 2011. She holds a degree in communication and interactive design from Northern Virginia Community College as well as a master’s degree in economic sciences from Université d’Orléans, France.


Charles Weber joined the Center in 1996. He produces, directs, and edits educational, documentary, web, and exhibit films. As a workshop instructor, he teaches field research documentation methods and history. His work has won numerous awards, appeared in film festivals the world over, and has been broadcast regionally on public broadcasting stations, internationally, and via networks such as the Smithsonian Channel. He has covered the Smithsonian Folklife Festival extensively since 1996 and produced video projects in locations across the United States and the globe. He holds a BA in television and radio with a minor in cinematography from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MA in creative writing from George Mason University.


Jonathan Williger joined the Smithsonian Folkways team in November 2018 to expand the label’s digital marketing initiatives and reimagine how fans discover its music. He previously worked in New York and Los Angeles as a senior music publicist at Motormouthmedia, where he led campaigns for a diverse array of artists and music festivals. In Chicago, he worked at the pioneering independent label Thrill Jockey Records. He has been a regular DJ on WNYU and WFMU, and his writing on music has been published by Pitchfork, Noisey, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, and Tiny Mix Tapes.


Brian Zimmerman joined Smithsonian Folkways in 2015. He holds a BS in business marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University and has spent the previous five years working in various facets of the music industry, including independent radio, music marketing and PR, and venue management. He also works for I.M.P. Productions at the 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Emeritus Staff

Richard Kennedy was deputy director of the Center from 1994 to 2008 and served as acting director until April 2009. He co-curated Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs Hawai'i, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Russian Music, Tibetan Culture, Silk Road, Oman, and the Mekong River and coordinated larger institutional efforts such the Smithsonian’s 150th Birthday Party. Previously he was assistant director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. His film on Cambodian refugees won Best Documentary at the San Francisco Film Festival. For twelve years he was chair of South Asian Area Studies at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Kennedy earned a PhD in South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Connecticut College. He has taught courses at the UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz and has been on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.


Richard Kurin is a member of the Smithsonian’s senior leadership team, and for over two decades he served as the director of the Center. Richard is a former Fulbright fellow with a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem, Reflections of a Cultural Broker: A View from the Smithsonian, and Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Culture Of, By, and For the People, as well as scores of scholarly chapters and articles. He was a keynote speaker for International Council of Museums at its triennial meeting in 2004 and gave the Founders Lecture at Harvard's Peabody Museum in 2007. He has been awarded the Smithsonian Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service and the American Folklore Society's Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement in public sector folklore.

Diana Parker was director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 1985 until 2010. She had worked on the Festival since 1975, prior to which she worked in various public program positions at the Smithsonian and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. She served as a consultant on several Cultural Olympiads and an array of public events, including the Smithsonian 150th Birthday Party, the Los Angeles Festival, and every public presidential inaugural celebration since Carter’s in 1976. She served as producer for the World War II Reunion on the Mall and The First Americans Festival celebrating the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. She worked closely with sponsors, public officials, and educational, cultural, and arts organizations in numerous states and over forty nations. Diana graduated with distinction from George Washington University and received a Rotary Fellowship to study anthropology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Anthony Seeger is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, and musician. He received his BA from Harvard University and his MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His research has concentrated on the music of Amazonian Indians in Brazil, where he lived for nearly ten years. In 1982 he returned to the United States as associate professor of anthropology and director of the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. In 1988 he moved to the Smithsonian to assume the direction of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and to become the curator of the archival collections of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. In 2000 he accepted a position as professor in the department of ethnomusicology at the UCLA. Anthony is the author of four books and over fifty articles on anthropological, ethnomusicological, archival, intellectual property, and Indian rights issues.

Peter Seitel joined the Center’s staff in 1978 and served as senior folklorist, webmaster, acting director, and director. Prior to service at the Smithsonian, Peter was an assistant professor of anthropology at Princeton University. He earned his PhD in folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, writing a dissertation based on eighteen months of fieldwork in northwestern Tanzania on the conversational use of proverbs and logical structures in metaphor. He has written on metaphor, narrative, and the concept of genre as a method in interpreting oral literature. He was project co-coordinator for the UNESCO/Smithsonian World Conference on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

Daniel Sheehy joined the Smithsonian in 2000 after serving as director of Folk & Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts (1992-2000) and staff ethnomusicologist and assistant director (1978-1992). A Fulbright-Hays scholar in Veracruz, Mexico, he earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA. The American Folklore Society honored him with the Américo Paredes award in 2010, recognizing a career of excellence in integrating scholarship and engagement with the people and communities one studies, and the Benjamin A. Botkin prize in 1997, recognizing major impact on the field of public folklore. In 2015 he received the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Research Associates

William Banfield
Olivia Cadaval
Xevi Collell Colomer
Maria Carme Junyent Figueras
Pablo Giori
Milena Oganesyan
Txell Martín i Pardo
Frank Proschan
Mark Puryear
Timothy Thurston
Amelia Tseng
Erin Younger

Advisory Board

Deborah Wong, chair
Ginnie Cooper
Thomas Downs
Chad Hamill
Bill Ivey
Maria Rosario Jackson
Dawn McCall
Susan Norton
Ana Maria Ochoa
George Papagiannis
Frederic Paulsen
George Schell
Jacqui Gales Webb

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