Folklife Center names Antohin as head of education
MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Folklife Center has appointed Alexandra “Sasha” Antohin as the its full-time director of education. “I cannot imagine a more qualified person to lead the center’s education programming to new and exciting places,” said Executive Director Kate Haughey. “Sasha’s expertise in providing learning opportunities for people of all ages centered around community-based research, social justice, and digital activism aligns perfectly with the center’s mission to build connections across divides, promote equity, and foster empathy and mutual respect among all Vermonters.”
The Director of Education is an integral member of the Folklife Center staff whose chief responsibility is directing and administering VFC’s dynamic statewide education programs. These programs aim to create pathways for Vermonters to see, participate in and experience the transformative power of ethnography as a method for education and social change. Ethnographic learning invites participants from all walks of life to value every person as an expert of their lived experience and a key source of cultural knowledge.
Antohin will provide training and support to Vermonters and schools seeking to undertake their own community-defined, cultural documentation projects.
“This is an ideal moment to present ethnography to the public” Antohin said. “Collectively, we are being challenged to play a role in bridging divides that keep communities apart. Ethnographic practice offers numerous opportunities to develop and sustain critical awareness and commitment to address issues and concerns that matter to Vermonters.”
Antohin’s background in education, anthropology and program administration makes her well suited for her new role. She is committed to supporting educators and cultural institutions to engage in community-based, qualitative research, VFC officials said. Prior to joining the Vermont Folklife Center, Antohin served as Senior Research and Program Director (2017-2020) for the Avoice Virtual Library Project, one of the largest digitalarchives dedicated to capturing Black legislative behavior in the U.S. Congress.
She said she looks forward to creating spaces for Vermonters to engage with members of their communities through ethnographic methods that allow them to grapple with issues of urgent social concern. Recent editorial work on two publications — Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research and The Jugaad Project: Material Religions in Context — demonstrates her interest to encourage greater inclusion of emerging scholars and practitioners outside of academia.
Antohin’s past research projects include studying how interfaith strategies have been used by international development and peace mediation practitioners in Israel and Ethiopia to improve community engagement. As part of her post-doctoral research fellowship at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Antohin helped organize a public forum to discuss the complex intersections of identity, belonging and solidarity among the different black communities living in Israel. These interests stem from over 10 years of experience as anethnographer of Orthodox Christian communities in multireligious contexts.
Antohin completed her doctorate in Social Anthropology at University College London, and has taught at George Washington University(Washington, D.C.) and Westchester Community College. She has conducted fieldwork in the Russian Far East, north-central Ethiopia and the Washington, D.C., area.
She is particularly passionate about promoting anthropology and ethnography for non-traditional applications and creative pathways. In her free time, Antohin enjoys performing with string ensembles and singing with local choral groups.
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