My research focuses on dress, craft, and community change in West Africa and the Middle East. I am a curator at Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and have worked on festival programs about living religions in the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, and an unrealized program featuring Benin. In this role I work on expressive culture, spiritual life, environmental knowledge and other topics and plan research-based public programming.
I earned a PhD in art history from Indiana University in 2018. In 2017-2018, I was a Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution with research appointments in the National Museum of Natural History Department of Anthropology and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
In my research I study African art and focus especially on cloth, dress, and fashion in West Africa. I first traveled to Mali in 2007 as an art student, where I was struck by the deep and vivid beauty of Malian dress, a form of art most people engage with on a daily basis. I continue to pursue projects with Malian and Mande language speakers around the world. I previously worked at the Indiana University Art Museum, in study abroad programming, in art consulting, and at a boutique letterpress shop.