Research underpins the work that Traditional Arts Indiana does in the state. From interviewing musicians, craftspeople, dancers, cooks, and storytellers to photographing community celebrations, creative processes, and musical performances, we strive to better understand the traditional arts and creative practices that support community life. Our research methods include longform interviews with tradition bearers, photographing artists at work, and recording the social and creative contexts that surround the expressive practices we study. Through this ethnographic fieldwork, we identify and document the traditional arts in communities throughout Indiana, with a collaborative eye and a willingness to assist communities in their culture work, when we can.

Currently, TAI is conducting fieldwork in support of our Apprenticeship Program and the Indiana Heritage Fellowships. In addition, TAI has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement to conduct ethnographic research on the relationship between creative aging and the traditional arts.