LOGAN – While she has been preparing for retirement after 26 years as the curator of Utah State University’s Fife Folklore Archives, Randy Williams recently earned the Dr. Everett Cooley Distinguished Archival Career Award, a statewide honor.
She said in the study and recording of human cultures it is important to come to know the people and to partner with them.
”I think that’s the hallmark of the work that we do at Utah State, is we’re partnering with people to tell their story,” Williams explained. “We’re not trying to tell anyone’s story. And so an ethnographic piece would include, of course, their oral history, letting folks view that and vet it, then photographs and then other materials. And that’s what’s cool for an archivist because so those other materials might be other donations.”
She said building relationships is a key to her work.
“I always have to say my hat’s off to our community partners because they are the ones that help us make an entry in the community, and there’s relationship building that happens,” Williams added. “So, before I do any interviewing, which I do a lot of, there’s a lot of relationship building, there’s a lot of learning. I need to learn how to better interact in the community. So there are some cultural competencies that I need to learn.”
Williams is serving this year as Board Chair of Utah Humanities, an independent non-profit dedicated to improving communities through the humanities, and also as vice president of the Cache Refugee Immigrant Connection.
She also plans to complete a book about Utah’s opioid crisis.