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The New York Folklore Society is committed to providing educational opportunities for folklore students and community scholars.



Folk Arts in Education

The New York Folklore Society is committed to supporting folk arts in education, as well as focusing people’s attention on the value and vitality of their own folk cultural traditions as well as those of their neighbors.

As the guest editor of a special Folk Arts in Education edition of New York Folklore, wrote: “In bringing such programs to the schools we are showing younger people that skill, talent and creativity are not the exclusive preserve of museums, concert halls or even art classes but can thrive and flourish on an everyday level as well.”—Kathleen Mundell, New York Folklore, Vol. 13, No. 3–4.

Our conferences are educational offerings for folklorists, allied professionals, and the general public, and are described in Conferences & Symposia. In 2010–2011, the Society sponsored graduate student conferences which showcased student work. READ the Conference Report for our 2011 conference, “Legends and Tales” in Voices 37:3-4, 2011.

We have partnered with Empire State College (ESC) to offer courses designed for students interested in non-profit community arts and folk arts programming, presenting, researching (field work methods), documenting, archiving, and managing. The course, Folk and Community Arts Organizations: Creating, Producing and Managing, offered a comprehensive look at how arts organizations operate, the services they provide local communities and the public at large, the wide range of programs they create and produce, the research and documentation that informs their work, how they educate youth about the arts and local communities, and grant-writing and fund-raising. READ the course description.

Additionally, in partnership with Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning (CDL), we offered the summer 2008 blended course (including online and residency components): Exploring Place: Summer Field School. The purpose of this course was to provide community scholars and students, interested in documenting, presenting, or researching the culture and tradition of their local community, the opportunity to learn fieldwork methods and strategies, and to engage with critical issues that arise in the context of conducting local fieldwork.

SEE photos and reports of the 2006 Summer Field School: Documenting Your Community’s Culture and Traditions, June 19—July 28, 2006.

SEE also our work with youth in Schenectady in our ongoing Community Cultural Documentation project described in our Community Programming section of this site. This successful program was given special notice by the Schenectady Job Training Agency for its innovation.

The New York State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the New York Folklore Society, instituted an internship program for graduate students in folklore to gain valuable work experience in the field of public sector folklore and folk arts programming.

SEE our ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS section for more information about organizations that are involved with folk arts in education.

VIEW our FOLKLORE BIBLIOGRAPHY to find regional texts, fieldwork and documentation, and general reference material about Folklore and Folk Arts.


jAt the Saratoga County Fair, Jennifer Callender interviews Molly.
At the Saratoga County Fair, Jennifer Callender interviews Molly. From the 2006 ESC summer residency course.
Photo by Valerie Walawender.

“Folklore courses for undergraduates should be as basic to a liberal education as Literature 101, Introduction to Psychology, and Calculus. Folklore should be as common at venerable Ivy League schools and small public colleges as at institutions with graduate programs in folklore. In this age, when we require educators at all levels to impart self-esteem and promote cultural diversity, where are the folklorists and their courses?”—Varick Chittenden (from his Upstate column in Voices, Vol. 27, No. 1-2.

From the Video Workshop component of the Field School, with film maker, Barry Dornfeld
From the Video Workshop component of the 2008 Field
School offered through Empire State College,
with filmmaker, Barry Dornfeld.

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