An Evening With Emily Hilliard

EpiCentre Arts

Wednesday, February 15th
6:00pm - 9:00pm EST

Emily Hilliard is a folklorist and writer based in Berea, Kentucky. She is the former West Virginia State Folklorist and Founding Director of the West Virginia Folklife Program. Hilliard is a 2021-2022 American Folklife Center Archie Green Fellow for a project documenting the occupational culture of rural mail carriers in Central Appalachia and serves on the board of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. She is also the co-founder and co-owner of the feminist record label SPINSTER. Hilliard's book, Making Our Future: Visionary Folklore and Everyday Culture in Appalachia, was published by UNC Press in November 2022.

With chapters on the expressive culture of the West Virginia teachers' strike, the cultural significance of the West Virginia hot dog, the tradition of independent pro wrestling in Appalachia, the practice of nonprofessional women songwriters, the collective counternarrative of a multiracial coal camp community, the invisible landscape of writer Breece D'J Pancake's hometown, the foodways of an Appalachian Swiss community, the postapocalyptic vision presented in the video game Fallout 76, and more, the book centers the collective nature of folklife and examines the role of the public folklorist in collaborative engagements with communities and culture. Hilliard argues that folklore is a unifying concept that puts diverse cultural forms in conversation, as well as a framework that helps us reckon with the past, understand the present, and collectively shape the future.

While the second half of the evening is open to everyone, the first half -- a special oral history workshop lead by Emily -- will have limited space and capped at 20 people. Please register to reserve your spot!

Accessibility disclaimer: Epicentre Arts is on the second floor and can only be accessed by going up a flight of stairs. If you have other accessibility needs, please email us at