Teresa Hollingsworth Receives Award from American Folklore Society

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Atlanta – Teresa Hollingsworth, Director of Film and Traditional Arts with South Arts, was recently named as the 2021 Benjamin A. Botkin Prize recipient from the American Folklore Society. The Botkin Prize is given each year to recognize an individual for significant lifetime achievement in public folklore. Hollingsworth shares this year’s award with fellow folklorist Varick A. Chittenden.

“I’m humbled to receive the Botkin Prize by my AFS peers,” said Hollingsworth. “To be recognized for my work as a public sector folklorist is both a personal and professional milestone. It’s a positive reminder that the work of a folklorist does make an impact.”

Since joining South Arts in 1999, Hollingsworth oversees folk and traditional arts programming and has developed a robust ecosystem of support for traditional artists, folklorists, and organizations. She manages South Arts’ Traditional Arts Touring grants, offering arts organizations support to engage traditional artists for public presentations and scholarly activities. Hollingsworth also developed and directs South Arts’ In These Mountains initiative, a multi-faceted approach to preserving and perpetuating the traditional arts of Central Appalachia. Through In These Mountains, South Arts has supported master traditional artists through fellowships, cultivated new practitioners through mentor/apprentice pairings, increased access to K-12 traditional arts education, and documented the work through partnerships with colleges/universities and community scholars. In These Mountains was recently renewed through private support for continued programming through 2024. She also directs the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, working closely with filmmakers and screening partners venues to present new documentary films and community engagement programs throughout the South.

In addition to her role with South Arts, Hollingsworth serves the field as a member of the alumni advisory committee for Potter College of Arts & Letters at Western Kentucky University, and as a founding board member of the Center for Cultural Vitality. She has served as the Film and Video Editor for the Journal of American Folklore, a consultant for The NAMES Project/The AIDS Memorial Quilt, and most recently contributed an essay to the new publication What Folklorists Do, Professional Possibilities in Folklore Studies. Prior to her tenure with South Arts, Hollingsworth served on teams with the Florida Folklife Program, Maine Folklife Center, and Kentucky Folklife Program. She holds a Master of Arts degree in folk studies from Western Kentucky University.

“Since the 1980s, Teresa Hollingsworth has worked with boundless energy and success in the field, creating opportunities for artists, folklorists, and arts professionals," said Maggie Holtzberg, Chair of the Botkin Prize Committee. "She has played an essential role in helping the South emerge as a stronghold for traditional arts.”

This prize from the American Folklore Society is given in recognition of the work of Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975). Eminent New Deal-era folklorist, national folklore editor of the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938-1939, advocate for the public responsibilities of folklorists, author and compiler of many publications on American folklore for general audiences, and head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945, Botkin has had a major impact on the field of public folklore and on the public understanding of folklore.

For more information about South Arts programs supporting traditional arts as well as many other art forms, visit southarts.org.