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Staff and Associates

Selina Morales, Director, tends PFP's mission and vision, develops innovative programming, and manages day-to-day operations. She came to PFP in 2010 to coordinate public programs and launched its Folk Arts and Social Change residencies. Selina is a doctoral candidate in folklore at Indiana University, where she completed her M.A., also in folklore. Her dissertation (in progress) draws on her current work at PFP, dealing with contemporary approaches to public folklore. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Oberlin College. Before joining PFP, she worked at Traditional Arts Indiana, Indiana's statewide folklife organization, where she conducted folklife research, developed public programs, and curated and coordinated exhibitions. She served as a guest curator at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures where she curated Botanica: A Pharmacy for the Soul, an innovative installation drawing on a 163-piece ethnographic collection documenting Botanica practices in the United States. Selina has been an invited speaker in University and community settings on social justice and folklore, Latino folklore, folklore and education and other topics. Areas of expertise include: Latino folklore, folk healing and belief, public folkore theory and practice, and urban folklore. She can be reached at smorales [at]

Toni Shapiro-Phim Director of Programs, oversees PFP’s public programs, including exhibitions, performances, humanities forums and other collaborative endeavors with community partners. She first worked at PFP from 2001-2007, and has been with us again since 2011. She received her Ph.D from Cornell University in cultural anthropology, exploring the relationship between war, migration and the arts, and worked in refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand with people who had come from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. She has conducted ethnographic research in Cambodian communities in Southeast Asia and the U.S. She has also designed and implemented public arts, educational and documentation programs in diverse settings, and has held teaching and research appointments at the University of California-Berkeley, San Jose State University, Yale University and Mills College. Toni currently teaches part-time in the anthropology and dance departments at Bryn Mawr College. She’s participated in trainings with the Peacebuilding and the Arts initiative of Brandeis University, and is a founding member of the Cambodia/Southeast Asia Working Group at Rutgers University’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. A dance ethnologist with a particular specialization in the performing arts of Southeast Asia, her dissertation, books and other publications focus on the history and cultural context of dance around the world, particularly in relation to violence, migration, conflict resolution and gender concerns. Toni can be reached at toni [at]

Linda Deafenbaugh is the Education Specialist at the Philadelphia Folklore Project.  She came to PFP in 2014 to coordinate folk arts education programs and research.  Linda defended her dissertation in 2013 titled “Developing the Capacity for Tolerance through Folklife Education” in the Social and Comparative Analysis in Education program at the University of Pittsburgh and is finishing final revisions.  Prior to this degree in educational anthropology, Linda received her MA in cultural anthropology, also at U. of Pittsburgh, for research conducted with textile traditions in Northern Nigeria.  She holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University.  Linda helped develop the Standards for Folklife Education by Diane Sidener and pilot them in K-12 schools and classrooms.  She has conducted teacher training workshops and courses toward educators receiving Act 48 continuing professional development credit hours, English as a Second Language instruction certification, and graduate degree credits. She has developed analytic methods for research teams looking at classroom discourse and social-cultural classroom dynamics (MUSE curriculum classrooms), at teacher training in science education (funded by NSF), and at urban youth definitions of community and cultural stressors that influence their mental health (Center on Race and Social Problems/funded by NIH).  Areas of expertise include: developing educational programs within community and school settings, folklife education curriculum development across subject areas, experiential and inquiry educational practices, folk arts and cultural processes, classroom action research, and computer assisted qualitative data analysis software.  She can be reached at linda [at]

Leslie Malmed Macedo, Communications Specialist, handles all of PFP's marketing and publicity and provides support in the transition process on matters related to operations. Leslie is a seasoned arts administrator with a focus on traditional and classical music and dance. She has served on the staffs of the World Music Institute (1999-2008) as manager of touring, educational programming, technical operations, box office, membership and community outreach; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (2008-2011) as Executive Director and Dance Theatre Etcetera as Director of Finance and Operations (2011-2014). In 2001, Leslie co-founded Mamadêlê Productions, a company that arranges performances and educational programs that present the music, dance and martial arts of Bahia, Brazil. She has served on the board of Dance USA (2009-2011) and joined the board of International Ballet Exchange in 2014. Throughout her career Leslie has worked with internationally acclaimed artists from around the world arranging performances and educational programs at major performing arts centers and educational institutions throughout the United States and Canada. She was part of the curatorial team that co-produced the Cultural Olympiad in Greece, curated artists for the Nat Geo children’s tv series Ma Mirabelle and developed educational performance series at the Juilliard School and Baruch College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Leslie received a BA from NYU 's Gallatin School where she studied Ethnomusicology and International Politics. She can be reached at leslie [at]

Debora Kodish was the founder of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and its Director from 1987 through June 2014. Some of her publications on activist approaches to public interest folklore work can be found here, including "Cultivating Folk Arts and Social Change" (Journal of American Folklore, 2013), "Imagining Public Folklore" (Companion to Folklore, 2012), and "Envisioning Folklore Activism" (Journal of American Folklore, 2011). She can be reached at debora.kodish [at]

Ife Nii-Owoo
(Graphic Design) runs Ife Designs and Associates, an award-winning design company. She has designed the PFP's publications (including books, videos, calendars and other print media) for more than a decade. She can be reached at

Patricia Frahme (Accountant) manages PFP's financial systems.

Judy Smith / Rhizoid manages our website.

Teaching Artists currently include:

  • Jovitta Brockington, African American step
  • Gbahtuo Comgbaye, Liberian storytelling
  • Greg Corbin, Spoken word
  • Helen Gym, Chinese hung gar kung fu and lion dance
  • Riasinta Hite, Indonesian dance
  • Shuyuan Li, Beijing Opera
  • Than Nhan Ngo, Vietnamese dan tranh
  • Losang Samten, Tibetan sand mandala
  • Omar Harrison and Ama Schley, West African and Afro-Caribbean dance
  • Hua Hua Zhang, Chinese puppetry

Board members (2014)

  • Rechelle McJett Beatty
  • Carole Boughter
  • Saundra Gilliard
  • Dr. Fariha Khan
  • Jeannine Osayande
  • Mawusi Renee Simmons
  • Alix Webb


The Philadelphia Folklore Project is supported by the donations of members (people like you who are committed to sustaining diverse and vital community arts) and by a number of generous funders. We are grateful to all of you. Recent funders have included: