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Alabama Folklife Association gets new director


The Greenville Standard


The Alabama Folklife Association has announced Emily Blejwas as its new Executive Director.

Blejwas brings a wealth of experience in research, community development, and non-profit management to the position.

She currently directs the Gulf States Health Policy Center in Bayou La Batre, and previously worked for Auburn University’s Economic & Community Development Institute and the Community Foundation of South Alabama.

Blejwas holds an MS in Rural Sociology from Auburn University and a BA in Religion from Kenyon College.

Blejwas also brings a knowledge of and passion for Alabama folklife to this role.

She is the author of The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods (University of Alabama Press, 2019) and has researched and written on Alabama history and culture for the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Alabama Heritage Magazine, the Alabama Review, and Mobile Bay Magazine.

“I am overjoyed about this opportunity,” Blejwas said. “I have been so inspired as a researcher and as a resident of Alabama by the deep and diverse folkways of our state.

“I look forward to documenting and sharing these traditions to promote an appreciation of Alabama and to create opportunities for all Alabamians to participate in creative and cultural endeavors.”

“The Alabama Folklife Association is thrilled to have Emily Blejwas to lead its work in support of our state’s rich folk arts practices as it enters its fifth decade,” stated David Ivey, President of the Alabama Folklife Association.

“Emily is not only an experienced and talented non-profit executive; she is also a recognized researcher of folklife in Alabama.”

“The Alabama Folklife Association is a valued statewide partner of the Alabama State Council on the Arts,” stated Joey Brackner, Director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture.

“The state arts council looks forward to working with Ms. Blejwas on our mutual goals of researching, preserving, and presenting Alabama’s folk culture.”

Blejwas will begin as Executive Director of the AFA on March 2, 2020. She replaces Mary Allison Haynie who has ably led the Alabama Folklife Association for the past nine years.

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