The KFP Welcomes Joel Chapman as Folklife Specialist

The Kentucky Folklife Program is happy to welcome Joel Chapman, of Bowling Green, and a native of Indiana, as the new Folklife Specialist beginning August 23, 2019.


Chapman completed his MA in Folk Studies with a Public Folklore concentration at Western Kentucky University in May. While a student, he served as Graduate Assistant to Assistant Professor Tim Frandy. He helped instruct and guide undergraduate students enrolled in folklore classes, proof-read and edit manuscripts, and edit video. Chapman gravitated towards folklore before he even knew the word by paying attention to the storytelling and woodworking of his grandfather and through his childhood obsession with legendary cryptids such as Big Foot and Champ. Since then, he has researched subjects ranging from raw milk to regional wrestlers.


As Kentucky Folklife Specialist, Chapman will assist in coordinating the Kentucky Folklife Program’s grant writing and day-to-day management, organize annual and special events, conduct outreach to traditional artists in South Central Kentucky, and serve as a mentor to Folk Studies students. He is looking forward to using his background and experience in video arts to promote and distribute the various projects in which the Kentucky Folklife Program engages.


“It is a pleasure to welcome Joel to the Kentucky Folklife Program and back to WKU’s campus” said Brent Bjorkman, Director of the KFP and Kentucky Museum. “Joel brings a passion for public folklore research, and his experience with video production is a strong asset that will add greatly to our diverse and visible documentation in surrounding communities and statewide.”


Chapman has master’s degrees in Folklore from Western Kentucky university and a bachelor’s degree in Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Media Studies from Indiana University. He began his new role on August 23, 2019.


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