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Memorial University of Newfoundland Announces Public Folklore Co-op MA Program

Monday, October 25, 2010   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Dale Jarvis

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.
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.

Aside from drawing tourists from around the world, the songs, stories and traditions of our past inform who we are, shaping our values and our priorities.

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 collective past.

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 America.

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.

"We 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.

"We had always imagined that some kind of practicum would be required, either as an unpaid internship or in a paid situation,” he said.

Approximately 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 2010.

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.

And 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 co-op program.

Dr. Lovelace believes that folklore students’ skill-sets will complement the needs of this province’s cultural and heritage organizations nicely.

"We 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.”

A 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.


Amber Ridington says...
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2012
Congrats - this looks like a really great option for MA students! I gained a lot of experience through a similar public folklore track at Western Kentucky University.

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