A new project of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Folk and Traditional Arts program, Mississippi Folklife re-imagines its earlier print publication established in 1927 by the Mississippi Folklore Society, as a digital journal featuring original writing and documentary work focused on contemporary folklife and cultural heritage throughout the state. The digital publication will feature new articles, interviews, photo essays, films, and more, anchored by three core areas: music, custom, and visual arts. The new website launches on Nov. 3, 2015.
Mississippi Folklife began as the peer-reviewed Mississippi Folklore Register. MAC Folk and Traditional Arts Director Jennifer Joy Jameson explains, “The publication carries an impressive history, with writing from William Ferris to Margaret Walker Alexander. After many different iterations and editors, the publication returned to the University of Mississippi, where it first began. Rebranded as Mississippi Folklife, it was edited by Tom Rankin and Ted Ownby at UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, before going out of print around 1999.”
The Arts Commission supported the production of the publication for many years, making MAC a fitting home for the digital revival of Mississippi Folklife. The publication’s new editorial committee includes Custom Editor Amy C. Evans, former lead oral historian with the Southern Foodways Alliance; Music Editor Jamey Hatley, an award-winning creative writer and journalist; and Visual Arts Editor Amanda Malloy, documentarian and student at UM Southern Studies. Jameson, who serves as Managing Editor, says, “This new era of Mississippi Folklife is in good hands with an editorial staff that will make it a priority to facilitate a rigorous, yet truly accessible public discourse on a range of folklife topics. Our editors hope to reach writers and readers from across ethnic, economic, regional, and generational perspectives in our state. After all, folklore and folklife are the living traditions and expressive practices of our cultures and communities. Folklife touches every Mississippian.”
MAC Executive Director, Dr. Tom Pearson says, “It is exciting to breathe new life into a rich publication like Mississippi Folklife, and in an unmatched digital format with incredible potential to engage and educate new audiences in Mississippi’s wealth of traditional arts. From Hill Country blues, to Gulf Coast pottery, and foodways of the Delta, folk arts play an important role in the quality of life in each community in our state.”
Those interested in submitting writing or multimedia for consideration can find submission guidelines at the publication’s website.