• Local Learning announces Executive Director

    Please join the board of Local Learning in welcoming Lisa Rathje as the new
    Executive Director of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in
    Education. She will direct the administration and programs of Local Learning to meet
    its strategic plan and ensure the organization’s mission of creating strong
    partnerships that advocate for the full inclusion of folklife and folk arts
    in diverse educational settings.

    Dr. Rathje has served as the Assistant Director of Local Learning since
    2012. Rathje previously served as Director of Folklife Programs with
    Company of Folk in Chicago, Illinois, where she was responsible for
    planning and directing projects focused on identifying, preserving, and
    promoting folk and traditional arts. At the Institute for Cultural
    Partnerships (2006-2010) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she conceptualized
    and served as project director for the multi-faceted education program The
    Art of Many Voices, including curriculum development, assessment, and
    community outreach. She will continue to serve as an adjunct faculty member
    in the Goucher College Masters in Cultural Sustainability program and will
    continue to be based in Chicago.

    Rathje succeeds Paddy Bowman, who will remain with Local Learning in the
    position of Founding Director. As a national thought leader in education,
    Bowman will focus on offering professional development and training,
    writing publications for academic as well as general audiences, and
    networking with partners, peer organizations, and Local Learning affiliates
    to share best practices, create resources, and advocate for folk arts in
    education. Both directors will continue to co-edit the flagship publication
    of Local Learning: The Journal of Folklore and Education, a digital peer
    reviewed publication for interdisciplinary, multimedia approaches to
    community-based teaching, learning, and cultural stewardship.

    In support of this transition, the Board of Directors of Local Learning
    issued this statement, “We embrace the expertise and visionary leadership
    that Lisa will bring to the organization in a time when the relevance and
    resilience of folklore and education is more important than ever. We have
    full confidence that Lisa will continue Local Learning’s commitment to
    traditional culture and local knowledge as a way to transform learning,
    build inter-cultural understanding, and create stronger communities.”

    Local Learning began as the National Task Force for Folk Arts in Education
    during a 1993 national folk arts roundtable at the National Endowment for
    the Arts. Today, the core activities and programs of Local Learning provide
    services to the field of Folk Arts in Education and support practitioners.
    We convene with other national arts service organizations to ensure folk
    arts’ presence in national conversations and participate in the crafting of
    national policy and advocacy initiatives.  We offer technical assistance,
    circulate news of the field through a variety of media and platforms, and
    provide professional development for educators, folk artists, and
    folklorists. Our publication, the Journal of Folklore and Education,
    publishes work representing ethnographic approaches that tap the knowledge
    and life experience of students, their families, community members, and
    educators in K-16, higher education, museum, and community education.

    The Local Learning Board
    Betty Belanus, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
    Linda Deafenbaugh, Philadelphia Folklore Project
    Mike Knoll, HistoryMiami
    Maida Owens, Louisiana Diversion of the Arts
    Anne Pryor, Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture
    Steve Zeitlin, City Lore

    You may reach Lisa Rathje at lisa@locallearningnetwork.org
    Paddy Bowman may be reached at pbowman@locallearningnetwork.org

    Also, please consider supporting the work of Local Learning at this exciting time
    with a donation to support the legacy that Paddy Bowman has nurtured
    through 25 years of dedication to the field of folklore in education and to
    congratulate Lisa Rathje on her new position. See www.locallearningnetwork.org/donate