I completed my PhD and MA in a specialized program, in Ukrainian Folklore (1991, 1985, University of Alberta). BFA in dance (1982, York University), BA in Ukrainian Studies (1979, University of Saskatchewan), and completed study programs in Kyiv and Jersey. I was hired to the faculty of the University of Alberta in 1990, and occupy the Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography.
I have been named to the UofA Curators Hall of Fame (2015) for my longstanding work as Curator of the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archive, since 1991. I have served as Director of the Kule Folklore Centre (Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore) since its founding in 2001. I particularly enjoy working with graduate students, thinking and writing about Ukrainian dance, visiting family in Saskatchewan, and travel.
My research is geared to understanding Ukrainians and Ukrainian Canadians in context of their cultural traditions. My research is typically fieldwork based, and has focused on dance, material culture, wedding traditions, arts and crafts, and a wide variety of expressive forms that link with ethnic identity, particularly in Ukrainian diaspora communities (fieldwork conducted in 12 countries and several continents). I am interested in continuity and change, issues of ethnicity and identity, cultural hybridity and the interactions between traditional expressions, their meaning and their context. I enjoy critically reviewing research methodology. More recently, I am exploring a wider range of unofficial (vernacular) cultural activities: graffiti, traditions related to ecology; place/space. Current/future projects deal with "creative non-fiction" in Ukrainian emigration/immigration stories; Ukrainian wedding traditions as they adapt to life in 3 different continents; iconography; with diverse traditions and their relationship with ecology and place. My research productivity is expressed in a wide variety of media: books, chapters, articles, reviews, websites, databases, performances, exhibits, traditional academic presentations, seminars and workshops.
I have taught many diverse specialized classes on Ukrainian Folklore topics (general introduction to Ukrainian culture, folk poetry, folk prose, calendar customs, life cycle rituals, material culture, folk beliefs, music, dance, Ukrainian Canadian folklore, history of Ukrainian folklore) as well as more general folklore (introductory survey of folklore, graffiti, folklore theory, ethnographic methods).I particularly enjoy working with graduate students, and have (co-)supervised 27 successful graduate students to date, with widely diverse student-initiated topics.