Heritage Comes To Life
(From the Memorial University of Newfoundland web site, posted October 18, 2010.)
Folklorist Andy Kolovos gives a workshop on
digital recording to a group of folklore graduate students. Photo
courtesy of Heritage Foundation of NL.
Culture and heritage are big in our province.
from drawing tourists from around the world, the songs, stories and
traditions of our past inform who we are, shaping our values and our
The study of folklore is a great
way of keeping these traditions alive and stories told. And those
working in museums and archives help bring our culture and history to
life, encouraging participation and teaching new generations about our
Now Canada’s only folklore
department at an English-language university is offering what is
believed to be the only folklore co-operative MA program in North
The Department of Folklore and the
Division of Co-operative Education have recently partnered to offer a
co-op option as part of the folklore MA program. Students will spend two
full terms at culture and heritage-related placements, including
museums, archives, festivals, cultural and economic development
organizations, tourism destinations and more.
decided to institute this stream in recognition of the fact that the
jobs for folklore graduates don’t lie only in universities, but also in
the greater community,” explained acting folklore department head, Dr.
Martin Lovelace. "Our master's and PhD graduates are working all over
North America and the world, in many different kinds of positions.”
Dr. Lovelace said that the department has long been interested in developing a public-sector stream within the MA program.
had always imagined that some kind of practicum would be required,
either as an unpaid internship or in a paid situation,” he said.
18 months ago, Dr. Diane Tye, department head (currently on sabbatical)
approached Dr. Peter Rans, director of co-operative education at
Memorial, for advice on how to incorporate a co-op element into the
folklore MA program. Working with Dr. Rans and his team, the folklore
department devised the current program which launched in September
Dr. Rans believes the new program holds
incredible potential for both the participating students and the
organizations and regions in which they’re placed.
"This is about knowledge transfer from both sides,” he said.
the knowledge transfer seems to be working already.In September, the
Harris Centre brought the departments together with representatives from
culture and heritage groups from the community at an informational
workshop. The event included presentations from both departments, and an
open question period where the culture and heritage groups were
encouraged to ask questions and learn more about the benefits of the
Dr. Lovelace believes that
folklore students’ skill-sets will complement the needs of this
province’s cultural and heritage organizations nicely.
cover a wide range of fields, from folk song and folk tale, to material
culture, belief, custom and more or less everything about everyday
life, and consequently, our students are trained in many areas,” he
said. "Many of our grad students have already spent time working in the
archives and other heritage-related positions, and would be ideally
suited to a co-op in a small museum or cultural heritage institution.”
lunchtime seminar scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19, will be devoted to
explaining the new program. Dale Jarvis, intangible cultural heritage
development officer for Newfoundland and Labrador, and Laura Chapman,
with Memorial's division of co-operative education, will present an
information session in ED-4036 from 12:30-1:30 p.m.Those wishing more
information on this session should contact Ian Hayes or Joy Fraser.