Devoted to the Study of Folklore and Tradition

The Folklore Society (FLS) is a learned society, based in London, devoted to the study of all aspects of folklore and tradition, including: ballads, folktales, fairy tales, myths, legends, traditional song and dance, folk plays, games, seasonal events, calendar customs, childlore and children's folklore, folk arts and crafts, popular belief, folk religion, material culture, vernacular language, sayings, proverbs and nursery rhymes, folk medicine, plantlore and weather lore.

Next Folklore Society Event

Folklore and Anthropology in Conversation: SOLD OUT

  • 27th October 2016
  • Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT

Folklore and Anthropology in Conversation

A joint symposium of The Folklore Society and The Royal Anthropological Institute 
Thursday 27 October 2016, 10.00—17.00

There will be 6 presenters,  3 each from The Folklore Society and the Royal…

More events coming up:

Folklore Society News

Stewart Sanderson

We are very sad to hear of the death of Stewart Sanderson, editor of Robert Kirk's Secret Common-wealth in our Mistletoe series, 1976. 

Food and Drink in Legend and Tradition

Many thanks to all our speakers and audience at last weekend's conference at St Nick's Centre, York. Great papers, and some tasty samples too.

See a few of Jeremy Harte's photos here

Reflected Shadows: Folklore and the Gothic

Many thanks to everyone who attended our conference 15-17 April, and especially to all of our wonderful speakers. The presentations were all fascinating, discussions were fruitful, and several people came stylishly dressed for the occasion.

David Buchan Lecture 2015

Diane Goldstein's inaugural David Buchan Lecture from November 2015 can be viewed and heard here:

Folklore Events and Calls for Papers

Please submit this online form if you would like us to publicise your event on our website.

19th October 2016 — 22nd January 2017 Narratives of Location

Judith Burrows’ images explore the unique resonance of particular locations. This exhibition features paintings inspired by locations of Judith’s photographic portraits of folk musicians including the photo-shoot for June Tabor’s album Ashore.

27th October — 24th November 2016, 18:00—20:00 Vampires: a Five-Week Course at the British Library

A five-week course devoted to vampire narratives of the last 200 years
Course dates: Thursdays 27 October and 3, 10, 17, 24 November. Times: 18.00 – 20.00
Convened by Dr Emma McEvoy (University of Westminster).

28th October 2016 Vizzards and Collicks - A seminar exploring the folklore and customs surrounding Hallowe’en in Irela

  • Venue: The National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  • Organised by Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert
  • Contact:

1. Death Customs - Hallowe’en and the Otherworld by Dr. Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh

2. Apparitions/Sightings and Visitations by Robbie Sinnott

3. Official Launch of The Michael Fortune Folklore Collection

4. Meals and Mischief by Clodagh Doyle (Museum of Country Life)

5. Role-play and Disguise by Michael Fortune (Collector/Presenter)

6. Themed Traditional Singing Session - ‘The Unquiet Grave’
in An Goilín Singers’ Club.

31st October 2016, 18:00—19:30 Jeremy Harte, ‘Subversive or What? Fairy Tradition and Social Order’

  • Venue: University of Chichester
  • Organised by The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • Contact:

For a secret people, the fairies have been surprisingly conspicuous in social protest. Jeremy’s book Explore Fairy Traditions won the Folklore Society’s Katharine Briggs Award in 2005.

2nd — 26th November 2016, 20:00—20:00 ORCA

ORCA by Matt Grinter is an award-winning new play that explores maritime folklore and midsummer rituals, asking how these can bind communities together - and how they can also conceal dark truths.

The winner of the 2016 Papatango New Writing Prize, the UK’s leading playwriting award, from 1053 entries, ORCA runs throughout November at Southwark Playhouse in London, published by Nick Hern Books. Writer Matt Grinter is a Bristolian, and draws heavily on the myths and folklore of the South-west.

14th November 2016, 18:00—19:30 Children’s Fantasy Literature: An interview with Prof. Farah Mendlesohn

  • Venue: University of Chichester
  • Organised by The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • Contact:

This event will be an interview and discussion of Mendlesohn’s research into the history of children’s fantasy literature.

25th February 2017Broadside Day 2017

Broadside Day 2017 - our annual one-day conference on all things to do with Street Literature (broadsides, chapbooks, prints, pamphlets, last dying speeches, and other cheap printed materials), will be held at the Bodleian on Saturday 25th February 2017. Further details will be circulated in due course.
Anyone who would like to give a paper or other presentation (20mins + 10mins discussion), please contact Steve Roud -

19th April 2017 CfP: Digital Folk conference

Proposals of 250-300 words are invited for this one-day Digital Folk conference at the University of Sheffield, exploring the practices, cohesions or frictions that can arise when folk and traditional arts worldwide come into contact with digital technologies.
Full details of suggested themes are available on the Digital Folk website.
Deadline 1st November.

9th — 10th June 2017 Folklorists are Fallible

  • Venue: Tartu, Estonia
  • Organised by Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, The University of Tartu,
  • Contact:

Folklorists, just like anybody else, are fallible. This event aims to draw out the patterns of fallibility that folklorists show, and to explore what we might learn from this. In this light, submissions are invited within two major categories, the mistakes made by the famous researchers of the past and the mistakes we ourselves have made.
The keynote speakers will be Carl Lindahl (University of Houston) and Karina Lukin (University of Helsinki).
Abstracts to by deadline of 30th Nov.

24th — 27th October 2017 C​onference on Mermaids, Maritime Folklore, and Modernit

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the prominence of the mermaid and related creatures from folklore, myth, legend, and the imagination in 19th, 20th, and 21st-Century culture.


Concealed revealed

​The Concealed Revealed, a strand of the Inner Lives: Emotion, Identity and the Supernatural, 1300-1900 Project, is hoping to produce an extensive catalogue of concealed objects and domestic apotropaic devices, from shoes and cats to timber marks, across Britain. Dr Ceri Houlbrook, of the University of Hertfordshire, is not only seeking information about these objects but is also aiming to interview their finders; to consider how the biographies of these objects continue once the concealed has been revealed. If you have any information you'd like to share, please email Ceri on, or visit the project website on

Consultation re new and additional forms of funding for The Folklore Society

Message from Robert McDowall, Vice-President: “At its meeting on 1 July 2015, the Folklore Society (“FLS”) Committee created a sub-group to examine opportunities for the generation of additional forms of revenue for the Society (other than revenue generated in partnership with Taylor & Francis). The sub-group invites FLS members and supporters to submit their suggestions and proposals, using this template. The consultation period ends on 30 September 2015. The sub-group will evaluate the feasibility of the proposals received and submit the “top 3” to the FLS Committee in December 2015 with a view to implementing the proposal(s) in 2016.”

Folklore query? Ask the Folklorists

Register with the Yahoo! Talking Folklore group set up by Steve Roud.

Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics

A joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum, now available free online.

Black Dog Database

Mark Norman is compiling a database of accounts of sightings of Black Dogs and will be very pleased if people can send contributions to

The English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS)

EFDSS has become one of Arts Council England's Regularly Funded Organisations to receive £400,000 of funding over two years. The funding will enable EFDSS to become a national development agency for folk music and set up a number of exciting new initiatives that will benefit the folk sector. For further information, please contact EFDSS Marketing Director, Sophia Linehan.