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Fife Folklore Archives Curator

Randy Williams
Photo credit: Donna Barry, USU.

Randy Williams is an assistant librarian at Utah State University Libraries where she serves as the Fife Folklore Archives Curator and Oral History Specialist in USU's Special Collections & Archives. In addition, she is affiliate faculty in the USU Folklore Program where she teaches the field school for cultural documentation with colleague Lisa Gabbert. Along with managing the world-renowned Fife Folklore Archives, Williams directs USU's community-based fieldwork projects, bringing the voices of diverse people from the Inter-Mountain West, many historically excluded, into the Archives. At present, she is working on the Utah Opioid Epidemic Oral History Project, with colleague Sandra Sulzer. Previous fieldwork includes:

Great Salt Lake Wetlands Oral History Project: Box Elder County, 2017-2018
Jackson Hole Dude Ranching Traditions: Triangle X, 2017
Voices from Drug Court, 2016-2017
2016 U.S. Presidential Election Reflections: Social Media Collecting Project
Swaner Legacy Oral History Project, 2015-2016
Cache Valley Refugee Oral History Project, 2015
Central Utah Project: Capturing Utah's share of the Colorado River, 2012-2013
Ranch Family Documentation Project, 2009-2012
Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists, 2011-present
Logan Canyon Land Use Management Oral History Collection, 2008-2009
Latino/Latina Voices Project, 2007 and 2012
Living Traditions of the Bear River Area, 1999-2004
USU Veterans History Project

For her work with excluded communities, she was awarded a 2017 Utah State University Diversity Award. With colleague Elisaida Mendez, she was honored with a 2009 Utah Humanities Human Ties Award for the Latino/Latina Voices Project and she received a 2002 UH Merit Award for Living Traditions of the Bear River Heritage Area.

As a folklorist embedded in the library, Williams actively conducts research and produces scholarship on folklore topics and ethnographic fieldwork. Her work with Cache Valley Drug Court participants resulted in "The Power of Oral History," published in the Spring 2018 Utah Historical Quarterly; with "Voices from Drug Court: Partnering to Bring Historically Excluded Communities into the Archives," co-authored with Jennifer Duncan, forthcoming Winter 2019 (March) in the Journal of Western Archives.

Fall 2016, she curated "Fifty Years of Folk: The Austin and Alta Fife USU Folklore Legacy, 1966-2016" at the USU Library. Summer 2009, Williams curated "Books and Buckaroos: USU Cowboy Poetry Collection" an exhibit highlighting USU's involvement with the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, from its 1985 beginning. Fall/Winter 2009-10, she co-curated with Barbara Middleton Bells: Connecting Animals, People and Land, an outgrowth of oral history work.

Williams is Archival Liaison for the American Folklore Society, a board member of Utah Humanities, Folklore Society of Utah, and Refugee Connection. She is past section convener (2009-12) for the American Folklore Society Archives and Library Section. She is the folklore liaison librarian at the Merrill-Cazier Library. 2007-2009, she served on USU's Common Literature Committee, chair 2009.

Along with Elaine Thatcher, she produced Folksongs of the Beehive State: Early Field Recordings of Utah and Mormon Music. Activity in the Arts in Education Program led to Folklore and Folk Art Resource Guide, co-sponsored by the Utah Arts Council. She co-directed the Fife Folklore Conference for five years, created and directed USU's Kinship Conference. Areas of academic interest include community-based oral history fieldwork, archiving, ethical metadata, diversity awareness, Mormon family, Native voices, and public folklore.