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The New York Folklore Society, sponsors conferences for folklorists and people interested in folklore from all over the state. Educational lectures and presentations are planned with visits to interesting cultural sites, concerts, or dance parties, and good food and discussion. Won’t you join us?



Conferences & Symposia

Annual Conference

Since its beginnings, NYFS has sponsored at least one conference a year. We provide educational offerings that appeal to folklorists and folklore students, professionals and students in related fields, educators, tradition bearers and traditional artists, and people interested in folklore from all over the state. The talk sessions—lectures and discussions—are balanced by such activities as boat tours, concerts or dance parties, visits to interesting cultural sites, and good food.

Cultural Migration: Displacement and Renewal
A Roundtable Discussion and Symposium on Immigration and Resettlement in the Buffalo/Niagara Region of New York
September 8–9, 2017
The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University


Migration across national borders reflects the conditions of an ever-changing world. Its impacts include the sharing of cultural knowledge across geography and across ethnic and community boundaries. Migration also encourages accommodation, both from the hosting communities and the new arrivals. This shifting landscape may spark both positive and negative emotions, as hosting communities and migrants experience tensions arising from cultural intersections and differences.

Against the backdrop of the American political landscape of 2017, these issues have grown in urgency, timeliness, and importance. Contemporary folklore sits at the intersection of arts, humanities, and social justice, and we invited participants to explore these issues from diverse perspectives through a New York State lens.

Presented in a roundtable format, this gathering included perspectives from traditional artists, community members, folklorists, and human service providers.

Visit the Program Page

Funding by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Humanities New York.


Download Conference Flyer





New York Folklore Society 2016 Conference

Casita Rincon Criollo. 2014. Photo by Molly Garfinkel.
Crisis of Place: Preserving Folk & Vernacular Architecture in NY
Saturday, April 2, 2016
The Cooper Union, Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets), New York City

See conference schedule.
⇒  See photos from the conference

In this one-day conference, folklorists, architects, historic preservationists, museum professionals, community members, and students came together to address questions concerning the significant crisis in our understanding of everyday landscapes and the built environment:

What is the folk and vernacular architecture of New York State? What makes it “folk” or “vernacular?”

How are the conditions of urban and rural life in 2016 challenging traditional architectural practices among various ethnic and regional communities?

Who is sustaining vernacular design and construction in the face of globalization and gentrification, and why?

READ more about the conference here...

NYFS Partnered with the Society for The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) for their 2014 Annual Conference

April 23-26, 2014, at The Strong, One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607


TASP is a multidisciplinary organization that promotes the study of play, support and cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes, and organize meetings and publications that facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information related to the study of play. TASP’s broad focus includes many disciplines and scholarly interests, including folklore and anthropology. With a shared interest in folklore and play, New York Folklore Society partnered with The Association for the Study of Play for their 2014 conference, “Connecting the Past, Present, and Future.”

From the left: Josh White Jr., Sonny Ochs, Oscar Brand and moderator Paul Mercer
at NYFS Fall Conference 2008, “The Folk Music Revival: Politics and Community”

For many years, these annual meetings of the New York Folklore Society focused on experiencing the folklore of specific regions of the state: Long Island, Chautauqua, Harlem, Watkins Glen, Saratoga Springs, and many more. Meetings in the past fifteen years have incorporated an Erie Canal boat ride (Seneca Falls, 1997), a guided walk through a Hudson Valley orchard (Clinton Corners, 1996), and an opportunity to drive at a NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack (Watkins Glen, 2004).

See Past Conferences to learn more about these events.


Symposia and Forums

Calling all Culture Workers!
Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit?
A Community-Centered Heart?
New York Folklore Society, in collaboration with Bronx Green Worker Cooperatives, has a workshop for you:

With BGWC’s Ileia Burgos

WHEN: Sunday, October 23, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Great Room at South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn

(South Oxford Space is within easy walking distance from the Atlantic/Barclay’s Center subway stop and accessible by multiple NYC subway lines.)
Admission is open and refreshments will be served.
Freewill donations accepted at the door
RSVP now to emcondon@msn.com to save yourself a space, as seating will be limited.

As follow-up to our conversations at the “Democratizing the (Folk Arts) Nonprofit Workplace” seminar held in February 2016, New York Folklore Society has partnered with Bronx Green Worker Cooperatives to present “Forming A Worker-Owned Co-Op,” a how-to information session about cooperative business start ups. This workshop is geared to culture workers—folk and traditional artists, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, and arts administrators. READ MORE...


New York Folklore Society presented a Folk Arts Forum:
Democratizing the (Folk) Arts
Nonprofit Workplace

February 28, 2016
5:00–8:00 p.m.
Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Registration FREE
Donations to support this and other events of the New York Folklore Society are welcomed!

The New York Folklore Society organized a folk arts forum meeting, convening an evening Folk Arts Forum with a panel discussion, breakout sessions, and collective dialogue on the topic of “Democratizing the Arts nonprofit Workplace.” The program presented various perspectives approaching this topic.



The New York Folklore Society, Building Cultural Bridges, The American Folklore Society, and the New York State Council on the Arts presented


Friday, May 17, 2013, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501


Upstate New York has become home to an ever-expanding community of refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Layering upon an already rich infrastructure of arts organizations, there is a great potential for an increasingly varied cultural landscape. Yet many of the artists from these communities struggle to maintain their expressive and cultural heritage traditions in the face of overwhelming and immediate needs as they adapt to their new environment.

The public was invited to a workshop that explored merging the arts with social services to better serve these newcomer communities and to enliven our community at large.

Read more and see photos from the event.

Each year the New York Folklore Society holds informal forums and events on topics of interest to the folklore field, professionals in related fields, and NYFS members. The New York Folklore Society reaches out to communities across the state, forging new collaborative partnerships.

At the Low Bridge, Everybody Down! An Erie Canal Music Celebration NYFS presented two days of music, history, and family fun on November 2–3, 2012, at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. Workshops, concerts, presentations, discussions, and displays exploration of the rich musical heritage of the Erie Canal.

Erie Canal celebration

With Stitching Tradition: An Invitation to a Public Sewing Circle, NYFS, with funding from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, provided for an embroiderer’s exchange at the History Center of Tompkins County in November 2011. It included an exhibit of the work of Eniko Farkas of Ithaca and Very Nakonechny of Philadelphia, PA. Also included were four weavers from the Karen community of Utica who brought a Southeast Asian perspective to the gathering.

READ about more of the Society’s past Symposia and Forums.

The New York Folklore Society’s programs are made possible in part with public funds from the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Council on the Arts

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org