Robert Cogswell holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Indiana University Folklore Institute. He taught in the American Studies Program at the University of Louisville and conducted public folklife projects for the Kentucky Arts Council before joining the Tennessee Arts Commission as Director of Folk Arts in 1984. In that position he researches and documents Tennessee folk arts, provides technical assistance and information services about the state’s folk culture, and works with a wide variety of special events and projects involving traditional music, crafts, and vernacular life in Tennessee. He has produced programs for the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, the National Park Service, the National Folk Festival, and chaired the Folk Arts Advisory Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts. As a writer and speaker, he has been an advocate for artists’ rights in cultural marketing and tourism development efforts.