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John Fenn is an Assistant Professor in AAD with a background in folklore and ethnomusicology, media studies, public cultural programming, and international fieldwork. He brings an ethnographically-grounded perspective to cultural production, which informs his teaching and research agendas. Professor Fenn’s extensive fieldwork experience entails ethnographic inquiry into the intersection of popular music and youth identity (Malawi); material culture (southern Indiana, the Pacific Northwest); and the cultural history of African American communities in Eugene/Springfield. He’s also explored the intellectual history of public sector ethnomusicology, primarily via commercial recordings released on Folkways by fieldworker Laura Boulton. His teaching spans ethnomusicology theory and methods; popular musics in the African diaspora; public folklore; and media studies.

As an Assistant Professor in the Arts and Administration Program (AAD) at the University of Oregon, I belong to a dynamic faculty training future arts and culture sector leaders to engage the social, technological, economic, and political dimensions of community and creativity. My background in folklore and ethnomusicology (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2004), media studies, public cultural programming, and international fieldwork has brought an ethnographically-grounded perspective on cultural production to the program’s curricular and research agendas. I combine training in the ethnographic exploration of creativity in everyday life with an interest in public presentation, management, and interpretation of artistic expression.

My commitment to arts is both personal and professional, and I understand arts administration to be a professional undertaking ultimately leading to the formation of meaning and community through programming. In my capacity as faculty coordinator for the media management area of concentration within the AAD program, I have sought to offer students a balance between practical skills and critical inquiry that focuses on the technological, social, and cultural facets of media in today’s world. This balance serves our students as they move into the 21st-century workforce - readying them for shifts in existing jobs as well as preparing them for professional opportunities that may not exist right now.

Throughout my time at the University of Oregon I have built a portfolio of research, teaching, and service activity that supports the AAD, School of Architecture & Allied Arts, and the university-level missions aligning at the nexus of culture, community, and creativity. My scholarly contributions  are explorations of ways through which diverse forms of media technologies operate as factors in connecting communities and arts, whether manifesting as opportunities, constraints, potentials, or pitfalls. Ultimately, my activities as a teacher and researcher foster participation and access to arts through critically-grounded use of media technologies that democratize the education, creation, and documentation of cultural practices.