Laura Bickford is the exhibition and special projects manager for the Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF), an organization dedicated to the documentation, research, preservation, and exhibition of the work of African American artists from the American South. Professionally, she has been involved in the transition of private collections and artists’ work into the public sphere and in efforts to integrate the work of artists working outside the mainstream into museum collections. Her research does much the same, centering on the intersection of so-called “self-taught” artists and material culture, using oral histories and object theory to contextualize these artists within time and place specific communities to erode notions of their “otherness.” Bickford was awarded a fellowship for her work on Vollis Simpson’s Whirligig Park after completing a dual MA in modern art history, theory and criticism, and arts administration and policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her BA in art history from the University of North Carolina, graduating with highest honors.