New Website!

Please head over to JOY AMERICAN STUDIOS for a much-updated portfolio and information about my consultancy services in the areas of folklife documentation, oral history, archives, and cultural interpretation.


Presentation on Freeman Kitchens at Research Club Nashville

Photo by Sarah McDonald
My neighbor and friend Bobby Allyn of The Tennessean, coordinates Research Club Nashville, a great resource for local people to informally share about their work, ideas, or projects--academic or otherwise. Research Club's Sunday Brunch sessions take place the last Sunday of every month at Brick Factory, an art co-op in Cummins Station.

Last month Bobby asked me to present about my work with Freeman Kitchens of the Carter Family Fan Club, and I gladly obliged. I was joined by philosophy professor Rohan Quinby, and sociology grad student Sammy Shaw -- both of Vanderbilt.


Joining the Editorial Team at The Museum of Americana: A Literary Review

I'm pleased to announce that I will be serving as Art and Photography Editor at the museum of americana: a literary review, a new literary quarterly focused on new interpretations of those aspects of culture and history that are uniquely American.

Justin Hamm, the quarterly's founder and editor writes about the aesthetic vision for this project:

"the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.  We live in an era when it is fashionable to express either apathy or outright disdain for all things American.  the museum of americana was founded on two core beliefs. The first is that there is much to love and celebrate in historical American culture. The second is that, while certainly not all aspects of Americana ought to be praised or celebrated, there is still great value in holding even that which is embarrassing or difficult up to the light to see what it is made of — and what could possibly be made of it."

The first reading/viewing period is now open, and closes on September 20th. If you are interested in submitting visual works for the first issue, please review the submission guidelines HERE, and then send an e-mail to me at photoartamericana (at) gmail.com. For the first issue I'm looking for 5-7 images that tell some narrative relevant to the journal's aesthetic.


Joining the Dept. of English at MTSU

This fall, I will be joining the faculty at the Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. I've been hired as an Adjunct Instructor, and will be teaching three writing classes which are guided by an ethnographic methodology. The coursework focuses on folklore and Southern studies, and emphasizes the process of learning to write through fieldwork.

I will also be teaching a Cultural Diversity course with Western Kentucky University's Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology.



I'm proud to present a new project I am directing called the NASHVILLE FOLK + FREE SKOOL. We have just announced, for July, the first ever set of (free!) workshops--each led by talented and community-engaged instructors. Please check out the new Folk + Free website (thanks to Nicole Irene Design) for the full schedule of events, and read an excerpt from the ABOUT page below:

We are a volunteer-run collective of Nashvillians dedicated to creative living and the sustainability of culture. We host and participate in several free, monthly, workshops on topics ranging from organic gardening, to photography, to bookbinding, to square dance-calling, to oral history techniques, and so on. We value the passing on of old and new crafts and skills through the folk tradition of community engagement and through person-to-person mentorship and apprenticeship. We also offer roundtable discussions and symposia on local and global issues and topics of interest. We encourage all to feel welcome to take a workshop, and also to teach a workshop, as we believe everyone has some valuable art, craft, or skill to pass on.

Rooted in the American folk school tradition of informal, non-competitive education in folk and traditional arts, and the in the collectivist and collaborative values of the free skool movement, the Nashville Folk + Free Skool seeks to engage an accessible local discourse on, and participation in interest-, tradition-, and skill-sharing guided by a 21st century D-I-Y ethos.


AOTR: Notes From The Field

The Art Of The Rural has published the introduction to the Notes From The Field series which I am editing. 

Matthew Fluharty, AOTR Editor, introduces the piece with this:

"Jennifer's projects are emblematic of a new generation of folklorists and advocates of vernacular culture -- a movement that works both within, and beyond, the traditional boundaries of the university or the archive. This wave of writers, artists, and curators has consistently presented, across all kinds of interdisciplinary lines, the sheer necessity and vitality of rural art and culture" 

Click HERE to read the article!


The Art Of The Rural

I'm glad to announce that I've been hired to edit a series for the online magazine The Art Of The Rural. The Notes From The Field series will focus on the rural/urban dynamic in contemporary arts and culture from an ethnographic perspective.

Stay tuned for more!