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Bridging and Bonding

A collaborative, community-based participatory action research project aimed at increasing access, opportunity, and visibility for African American craft artists at the John C. Campbell Folk School (JCCFS), in effort to develop a scalable and replicable model for equity and inclusion at folk schools through community building and learning and exchange opportunities.

In 2024, the project’s Bridging and Bonding partners will:

  • Offer artist residencies and exchange opportunities at JCCFS that will leverage craft and art as a starting point for community dialogue, 
  • Utilize a multi-faceted approach grounded in participant observation, trust building work, group dialog, and shared buy-in from the impacted communities, 
  • Create a Community of Practice committee with local and national African American craft entrepreneurs, scholars, artists, and community organizers, planning the next steps in preparation for a 2025 convening at JCCFS, 
  • Improve social cohesion and collaboration within the folk schools and beyond, leveraging a community-based approach to sustainable change.

This project is funded by the Office of Research and Evaluation at AmeriCorps under Grant No. 22REACA001 through the National Service and Civic Engagement research grant competition. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by, AmeriCorps.

The African American Craft Alliance

Formerly known as the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage's African American Craft Initiative, the newly renamed African African American Craft Alliance, brings craft artisans, makers and organizations together to encourage the vitality of African American craft, support efforts to document and present their work, strengthen networks, and increase access to opportunities and resources.

The Folk Education of Association of America has partnered with the newly renamed AACA to continue this excellent mission and to foster its launch as an independent African American led organization.  Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye, PhD, Creative Director for the African American Craft Alliance will work alongside AACA members to find a permit home for the alliance and to further its mission.

The African American Craft Alliance started with a series of foundational online convenings in 2020 and blossomed into several activities and projects based on suggestions from the community of African American makers, curators, educators, and craft entrepreneurs. One such blossoming became the Bridging and Bonding project.  Below you will find the publications created as a part of the birth of the AACI/AACA through the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and soon additional events and publications that spotlight the ongoing work will also be shared.

For additional information regarding the African American Craft Alliance please contact drdiana@africanamericancraftalliance.org and sign up for the AACA Makers Bulletin.

Publications of the AACI

Program background and objectives

Analysis and recommendations from discussions with African American makers

Analysis and recommendations from discussions with African American craft organizations

Analysis and recommendations from discussions with mainstream craft sector



Tel: +1 (360) 943-5749


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