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AFS Review: Notes

Welcome to Newcomers to AFS Annual Meeting

Monday, September 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

First and foremost, welcome! We look forward to seeing you at the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting—one of the largest and most energetic gatherings of folklorists in the world—in Baltimore this October. Here is information about the event that you may find useful.

1. When you check in at the meeting registration desk, ask for a “First Time Attendee” ribbon to attach to your name tag. Wear it proudly, knowing that other attendees will be glad to see you. Use it as a license to strike up conversations. Folklorists tend to be pretty friendly, enjoy meeting new people, and are willing to be helpful! 

2. A great way to begin your annual meeting is to attend an event that is especially for first-time attendees: Get to Know AFS and the Annual Meeting. It will take place Wednesday, October 16, from 4:00 pm–5:00 pm in Constellation D, 2nd floor. We will gather before the Opening Ceremony for a brief orientation. Learn what to expect from the meeting, meet other newcomers and learn what AFS can do for you. All are welcome.

3. Connect with the conference community immediately after the opening ceremonies Wednesday evening at the Welcome Reception and Recognition of 25 Years of Cultural Diversity Efforts in the Atrium, 6:30–8:30 pm. More experienced attendees will make a particular effort to reach out to first-time attendees at the kick-off to the meeting. Please plan ahead: the reception will have a cash bar, but no food. 

4. Attend the Festival of Ideas and Reception on Thursday, October 17, 6:00–7:30 pm in the Atrium, to share ideas, resources, problem solving techniques, and experiences around the interests that bring people together. Discuss strategies, issues, and opportunities that arise in your work with other first-time and local participants, scholars and activists from around the country and the world. 

To help plan this gathering of peers, we ask you to take a couple of minutes to fill out a short survey at by Friday, October 11. Share with us what you would like to talk about, and we will try to create spaces to have those conversations! 

5. Check in at the Executive Board’s Coffee with First-Time Attendees, Friday, 7:15–8:30 am in Pisces on the 15th floor. Wake up with a cup of coffee, a spectacular view, and current members of the Executive Board, who will want to hear how the meeting is shaping up for you. This a great opportunity to connect with other newcomers and the current leadership in our Society, whether it’s your first conference day or your third.

6. Go to any of the 30+ AFS business section meetings to discover groups and forums within the Society who share specific interests ( Participating in any of the various business section meetings is an excellent way to explore how people use the tools of folklore in their daily work and in collaboration with communities-of-practice. 

7. Nearly all Annual Meeting events and activities are open to all attendees, with a few exceptions noted in the program book with text like “preregistration required.” This means, for example, that you are welcome to attend the business meeting of the Archives and Libraries Section even if you are not a member of that section. You can attend a session sponsored by the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee even if you are not a member of that committee. You can be a part of the reception sponsored by The Ohio State’s University’s folklore program, even if you are not part of that program. Feel free to go, listen, participate, meet new colleagues, hear famous (and soon-to-be-famous) folklorists, and learn about the ways in which AFS can serve you. 

8. In 2006, former AFS Executive Board member Carole Carpenter wrote a brief document, “How to Make the AFS Meeting Work For You,” that remains a great source of advice about getting the greatest benefit from participating in the meeting that is aimed at those taking part in AFS for the first time, especially for graduate students and others interested in the academic discipline of folklore. You can find it on our website at

9. Get ready for the meeting! Check the 2019 Annual Meeting page before you arrive for meeting-related news, especially 2019 Annual Meeting: News and Announcements.

10. Stay connected beyond the meeting: there are a variety of channels that you can use to tap into networks of practice throughout the year, some of which are included in our wiki about resources for folklorists at

In closing, we look forward to hearing about your work when we meet in Baltimore to explore the many ways in which the field of folklore and its tools seeks to better understand, build, and sustain community-driven activities and expression. We hope this year’s Annual Meeting will meet your needs, both personally or professionally. See you in Baltimore!

Dorothy Noyes (The Ohio State University), AFS President

Jessica Turner, AFS Executive Director

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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