As part of this year’s conference, FAI pivoted and debuted, Folk Unlocked: Connection, Discovery, Inspiration, in place of an in-person conference. Folk Unlocked, a five-day virtual event for the entire international folk community, brought together panels, workshops, showcases, affinity and peer group meetings, exhibit spaces, networking, and mentorship. As part of the Folk Alliance International community, this year SaulPaul participated in a special series of conversations, including a special session entitled, Reflections on Committing to Conversation. This past year, also SaulPaul facilitated conversations about race, cultural equity and social justice with the music community across the country along with Folk Alliance members. The Committing to Conversation initiative is a grassroots engagement initiative envisioned and designed by Lilli Lewis, Label Manager of Louisiana Red Hot Records and member of FAI’s New Orleans Advisory Council along with support from FAI’s staff, board, and Cultural Equity Task Force.
Due to SaulPaul’s ongoing work in the community, he was invited to participate in FAI’s efforts to fostering a culture of communication within the folk community and engaging in conversations about race, cultural equity, and social justice. The program has a long-term goal of normalizing conversations about systemic racism within the folk music community. Along with SaulPaul, panelists included Lilli Lewis of Louisiana Red Hot Records and Janice Jo Lee of speakNORTH. It was followed by a live, virtual breakout session called Continuing the Conversation where participants activated their commitment to social change.
About Folk Alliance International
Folk Alliance International (FAI) was founded in 1989 to connect folk music leaders aiming to sustain the community and genre. The leading international voice for folk music, FAI is an arts nonprofit and NEA designated National Arts Service Organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. FAI is also a member of the Alliance of Performing Arts Conferences (APAC) and the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA).
The organization’s expanded global network now includes more than 3,000 members, a worldwide community of cultural sector entrepreneurs and leaders that includes artists, record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, arts administrators, diplomats, and more.