Special Blog Series: We Herts Folklorists
This is the first post of a special weekly blog series we’ll be running over the next few weeks, showcasing some of the wonderful talent of people who have recently completed the MA in Folklore Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. Throughout this series you will see some great folklore-inspired work, ranging from blogs to art.
First up is Jenny O’Sullivan!
My first degree was in History of Art, which I graduated from in 1997, and since then I have worked in a variety of fields, only returning to university when I discovered the MA in Folklore Studies. It seemed to cover the things I find most fascinating in life, such as the stories we tell each other, the things we believe, and the material culture produced from this. Equally, the interdisciplinary nature of Folklore Studies really appealed to me. My MA dissertation focused on needlework practices and their links to women’s histories, uncovering the meaningfulness of stitching for those who sew. The fieldwork interviews I conducted opened up many avenues of further interest and I hope to expand this to PhD research at some point in the future. My folklore interests in general are very far-ranging, the first blog post I wrote as a university assignment, was on The Six Hills of Stevenage which involved a delve into local history archives, old newspapers and some social media research to discover more about the unloved ancient barrows. The second blog post used folklore to explore the lives of Irish women emigrants to the United States during the nineteenth century. The online Irish folklore archive was both fascinating and invaluable for this research and I spent many nights down a West of Ireland folklore rabbit hole. Finally, the last blog post investigated the folklore of my other great love – football. By looking at the rituals and popular beliefs of football fans and basing some of the research on my own fieldwork, it examines the behaviours and beliefs of football fans as being akin to vernacular religion.
Jenny’s blog is called Making of Magic.