Plain View Fellowship
This pilot fellowship program was launched spring 2021 to supports ethnographers, documentarians, or artist-researchers in documenting folklife, culture, and heritage in the Greater Southwest and Northwest Mexico. The program takes its name from folklorist Mary Hufford’s notion that the study of folklife reveals beauty “hidden in plain view” and aims to elevate and illuminate a slice of folklife, culture, or heritage in the region that may otherwise be misunderstood, overlooked, or forgotten. Learn more here.
SFA Documentary Cohort
Since 2018, we’ve convened a cohort of documentary artists in Southern Arizona for learning exchanges in ethnographic methods, peer mentoring, and folklife immersion. Learn about cohort members here.
This Is Folklife Classes & Workshops
We offer a periodic series of classes & workshops called “This Is Folklife,” which includes cultural immersion experiences (Up Close), focused explorations of culture in action (Unpacked), and skill-based trainings in folklife and ethnography (How To). See past offerings here.
Ethnographic Field Schools
Our Ethnographic Field Schools offer a combination of cultural immersion and training in the basic skills of cultural analysis and documentation. These multi-day programs are specifically geared for non-academic adult learners interested in cultural documentation and enhancing “sense of place.” Our field schools happen throughout the border region, and are developed collaboratively with host communities to mutually benefit local producers, artisans, and educators, and participants. See past field schools with links to student work here.
We collaborate and partner with community organizations using folklife documentation to celebrate workers, foodways, folk arts, and other forms of folklife. Examples of such efforts include:
Heart of Isaac, Maryvale neighborhood, Phoenix, Arizona: In 2016, neighborhood residents and Promotores worked to transform a vacant house in Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix into the Heart of Isaac Community Center. They called on the skills and professions of people in the neighborhood–painters, carpenters, tile layers, and plumbers–using “sweat equity,” to transform the house. SFA worked with the Promotores, training them in ethnographic research, to interview each other and neighborhood residents about the Heart of Isaac. The project culminated with “Corazones de Isaac / Heart of Isaac,” an exhibit sharing portraits and stories of the Promotores and others involved in the effort.