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Open Voices: Folklore for All, Folklore of All

  • 06-08/05/2022
  • 3 days
  • Online

Open Voices: Folklore for All, Folklore of All

The Folklore Society’s Annual Conference 

Friday 6 to Sunday 8 May 2022, Online


Once upon a time, ‘folklore’ was thought of as the traditions of rural peasants, usually long gone. But when Alan Dundes asked: ‘Who are the Folk?’ in 1977, the answer was ‘Everyone.’ We all participate in the traditions of all the different groups we belong to, from small-scale family folklore to the broader groups of nation, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability, class, and more. As the focus has shifted away from the rural peasants pursued by Victorian antiquarians, the forum is open to hear the voices of other groups, especially marginalised and subordinated groups.

Folklore studies often focus on discrete groups and the creative expression of groups’ collective identities. But collective identity is complicated. Every ‘us’ at least implies a ‘them’. Every ‘us’, on closer examination, turns out to be a complex tangle of what we share with our fellows and what we don’t. What’s more, identities wax and wane in their significance, they change and new identities emerge. The relationship between individual and groups’ collective identification is no less multi-facetted.

Yet folklore is also dynamic, reciprocal and creative, arising from constant engagements with others. This not only results in renegotiations and reinforcing of identities, but also has the potential to interrogate other aspects of individuals and communities, including creativity and collaboration. Having a strong appreciation for diverse perspectives and participation, folklore is well-placed to represent and examine the intersections of different communities and cultures.

This conference explores the contribution of folklore and folkloristics to diversity of all types, including ethnicity, religion, nation, region, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and others, via all aspects of folklore, including jokes, tales, legends, myths, symbolism, music, calendar customs, folk drama, material culture, the rituals of everyday life, and many others besides, in order to interrogate the collaborations and contestations arising from cross-cultural engagements across time and place.

We invite 15-minute papers, presentations, performances or posters, on all aspects of folklore and folkloristic approaches exploring diversity, including, but not limited to:

  • The examination of identity, collaboration, creolization, appropriation, contestation and conflict
  • Applied folklore work addressing broader issues such as human rights, equality, security, peace, sustainability, and health and wellbeing through approaches to diversity
  • Beyond the academy: the development and reconsideration of public folklore and its impact working within, for and with diverse communities.
  • Whose folklore is it anyway? Who owns a tradition?
  • Hybridity, multilingualism, and creolisation in folkloric traditions
  • Decolonising folklore and ethnology: what can we folklore researchers learn from the past, to make the discipline more relevant, visible, equitable and engaged?
  • Recording the voices of minority groups: folklore, diversity and the legacies of minoritisation
  • Does safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage ‘freeze’ a tradition and exclude others from joining in?

We welcome contributors and participants from all disciplines and none, from everywhere around the world, exploring all places and time periods.

Proposals for Papers: Please email abstracts of max 150 words, plus a brief biographical note, to: [email protected], with Open Voices in the message line, and CC to [email protected]. Deadline: 31 December 2021.

Conference Fee: All participants will be asked to pay the conference fee:

Standard rate: £50

Reduced rate (Speakers, Folklore Society members, Students, Unwaged): £30

Booking will be via Eventbrite and the Conference will be held via Zoom