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AFS Review: News

Regional Welcome Reception at Annual Meeting in Miami

Thursday, September 08, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jesse A. Fivecoate
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SouthArts and the American Folklore Society are sponsoring a regional welcoming event on Thursday, October 19, at the annual American Folklore Society Meeting in Miami, Florida from 5:45-7:45 pm.

This event is designed to provide opportunities for attendees to make social and professional connections to folklorists and other cultural workers from their home regions or regions they are interested in exploring.  Representatives of regional folklore groups, gatherings, and retreats will be on hand to talk about ways to network, particularly in person, back at home, and in between AFS meetings. 

Below is a list of groups that will be on hand to describe activities and opportunities for networking in their geographic region or interest area.

Please contact Sue Eleuterio at with any additions for this list.


The Folklorists in the South Retreat (FITS) is a gathering of academic, public sector, freelance, community scholars and graduate student folklorists for a weekend of networking, discussions, panels, professional development opportunities and field trips. The gathering includes updates from national partners, media presentations, panels, discussions and field trips in addition to the opportunity to meet informally with peers. The next Folklorists Retreat will be held April 7-9, 2017 in Canton, Mississippi. Details and registration will be announced soon via

For more information about the Folklorists Retreat contact Teresa Hollingsworth.

Mid Atlantic 

The Middle Atlantic Folklife Association (MAFA) is a professional association supporting folklorists and others concerned with traditional folk culture in the mid-Atlantic region It serves Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

MAFA members are engaged in a full range of activities to study, document, interpret, present, fund, teach, encourage, and advocate for traditional cultural expressions in the region.

MAFA supports this diversity of approaches to folklife through a number of services to its constituents, including professional development, resource identification/access, and communication among different sectors of the field. MAFA encourages folklife studies and the presentation of traditional culture, through collaboration with communities interested in documenting and perpetuating their traditional ways of life. Through advocacy with community groups, MAFA members seek to mitigate threats to traditional culture.

The publications, meetings, and online presence of MAFA offer a forum for the exchange of information on public folklore programs, research projects, events, and critical issues, as well as opportunities for research and employment in the field of folklore.

For more information, contact Mira Johnson at


The Midwest Folklorists Retreat is a biennial gathering of folklorists and like-minded colleagues in the Midwest. Some activities at recent gatherings include:

  • neighborhood  and cultural tours
  • professional development workshops
  • opportunities to sample local foodways
  • planning sessions for the region led by skilled facilitators
  • the chance to network and spend time with each other face to face

For more information, contact Katy Borland at or Cassie Patterson at

The Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explores and sustains the languages and cultural traditions of the peoples of the Upper Midwest—Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (with overlap into lower Michigan, Ontario, Manitoba, the Dakotas, Iowa, Illinois, and even extending to river towns like St. Louis, Missouri). We foster research and the preservation of archival collections, and produce educational and outreach programs for a broad public audience. Our partners include: Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture, UW’s Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, the Mills Music Library, the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture and the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies. With UW Press, we publish a monograph series, Languages and Folklore of the Upper Midwest and one of our latest projects, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is Local Centers/Global Sounds: Historic Recordings and Upper Midwestern Musical Vernaculars.

For more information, contact Ruth Olson at


The Association of Western States Folklorists (AWSF) is a loosely organized group of public folklorists in the Western states. AWSF was founded in the early 1980s to meet the needs of its members, Public Sector Folklorists.  While the core values and skills of this field remain relatively consistent, needs of the group have changed in accordance with other changes in the field and the nation over the last 30 years: funding streams, career opportunities, growing interest in/use of our methods by new practitioners and other fields, media formats, administrative homes and structures, to name a few. While the founding members’ original needs were to share best practices and build skills particular to the work of Folk and Traditional Arts Coordinators (public folklorists) working in State Arts Agencies, new members are seeking creative solutions for entering a field with limited job opportunities, accessing funds from new sectors, getting creative about partnerships, and helping out with policy and advocacy – issues that may not have previously existed when the field was first evolving and had more secure public funds. 

For more information, contact Andrea Graham at


The New York Folklore Society (NYFS) is a non-profit, statewide organization providing a wide range of programs and services to the field of folk and traditional arts. NYFS publishes a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore and hosts an annual conference highlighting the work of folklorists and students.  In partnership with the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), NYFS provides technical assistance and professional development programs throughout New York State on topics of relevance to cultural documentation and practice, presents an annual New York State Folk Arts Roundtable as a professional development activity for the field, and supports internships in public sector folklore for graduate students. In New York, NYFS is the primary resource for folk culture scholarship: A membership organization, NYFS enjoys an international membership drawn from 39 states and 9 countries.  Special projects for 2017 include a study on the methods and efficacy of traditional arts learning; an Upstate Regional Survey to document underserved areas of the state (in partnership with NYSCA); and continuing documentation of and support for newcomer communities in New York State. 

For more information, contact Ellen McHale at

Interest Groups 

Preserving America’s Cultural Traditions (PACT) is an extended network of folklore professionals who largely work in nonprofit organizations across the nation. PACT seeks to coordinate efforts, create collaborative initiatives, and maximize resources among programming and service-related folklife nonprofits, and develop long term institutional strategies for preserving the living cultural heritage of the United States.

Since 2011, the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee has been a Standing Committee of the American Folklore Society, charged with “undertaking research and other activities regarding priorities and strategies to diversify the Society's membership and with keeping the Society engaged with diverse communities, and, based on those activities, recommend policies and actions to the Executive Board.” Currently, the committee is co-chaired by Wanda G. Addison (National University) and Norma E.Cantú (Trinity University), and includes the following members: Rachel González-Martin (University of Texas), Sojin Kim (Smithsonian Institution), Debora Kodish (Independent, Philadelphia PA), Kim Lau(University of California-Santa Cruz), Shirley Moody-Turner(Pennsylvania State University), Anand Prahlad (University of Missouri), Suzy Seriff (Museum of International Folk Art), Kay Turner (New York University), and Anika Wilson (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

For more information, contact Norma E. Cantú at


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