We carry our training and consulting in folklife research methods, practices, and evaluation (assets mapping, ethnography, participatory action research) with the intention of upholding and advancing the role & significance of culture and heritage in place and community. Recent work in this area includes:
Folklife (PAR) Network: The Southwest Folklife Alliance has partnered with the Surdna Foundation, the Highlander Research and Education Center and the Othering & Belonging Institute to deliver Participatory Action Research training to Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) researchers working in their own communities around the USA and in the U.S. Mexico border corridor. Together, our work is part of the Surdna Foundation’s Thriving Cultures program aimed to invest in researchers of color to interpret and disseminate knowledge about the work of artists and to build more equitable research infrastructures.
Arizona Creative Communities Initiative: We offered guidance to the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (ASU HIDA), in an initiative supporting 9 teams representing Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods exploring how arts and culture can contribute to community development and positive community change. Teams received intensive training, one-on-one mentorship, and funding. Visit the AZCCI site to listen to podcasts about each of the projects. 2019-2020
University of Arizona Office of Student Engagement: We worked with the UA Office of Student Engagement to assess the landscape of student programs, courses, and projects that integrate community engagement at the university. Our findings offer recommendations for best practices and institutional support. We also carried out case studies of several such programs. Sept. 2019-Jan 2020
Nogales, Arizona: A rapid-assessment of community needs/assets/desires: We conducted a needs assessment in Nogales, Arizona to understand pressing local issues, innovative responses, and ideas for how the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences might best use the Castro House, the former residence of the state’s only Mexican American Governor, Raul Castro. The house was gifted to the College in fall 2019. Our assessment also helped birth VozFrontera, an SFA program in Nogales, bringing arts and entrepreneurship to youth in that community, in collaboration with community partners and with funding from ArtPlace America.