Maribel Alvarez

University of Arizona

Maribel Alvarez is an anthropologist, folklorist, writer, and curator. She holds the Jim Griffith Chair in Public Folklore at the Southwest Center, University of Arizona, where she is also Associate Dean for Community Engagement in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. She is the founder and until recently served as executive director of the Southwest Folklife Alliance, an independent nonprofit affiliated with the University of Arizona, which produces the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival in addition to 20+ programs connecting artisanal economies, foodways, and traditional arts to community planning and neighborhood-based economic development throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region. In 1989, she co-founded MACLA in San Jose, California –one of the most vibrant contemporary Latino art spaces in the United States. Maribel recently completed a 6-year term appointment as a Trustee of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. She has been a Fulbright Fellow in Sonora, Mexico where she currently still carries on research with indigenous Yaqui communities around food and sovereignty. She has served as core advisor for several Ford Foundation national initiatives, including Artography, which documented the practices of art-making in America in the context of changing demographics. She has served in the faculty of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures’ National Leadership Institute for 16 years. In 2018 the American Folklore Society awarded her the prestigious Americo Paredes Prize for “excellence in integrating scholarship and engagement with the people and communities one studies.”

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