Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Beginning Folklore Boot Camp

Dale Jarvis discussing project planning at the old

Roman Catholic School in Keels (Photograph: Meghann Jack)

Now that we have a sense of the local cultural landscape, we have begun fieldwork 101. This morning, Dale Jarvis, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Officer with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, provided a crash course in folklore and oral history project planning. We discussed a combination of concepts, methodologies, and practical applications, but above all, Dale challenged us to think critically about why we are here and what we hope to achieve.

John Ducey's House in Keels, NL

(Photograph: Noah Morritt)

From the built architectural heritage and material culture of Keels to the intangible cultural heritage of its people - the oral traditions, beliefs, values, and social practices - it is both overwhelming and exciting to think of what we are here to do. This is more than fieldwork 101 - it is an important reflexive exercise and an opportunity to critically engage with the practice of ethnography. Yes, we have a number of important skills to learn, but we have to begin somewhere if we hope to develop as folklorists and fieldworkers. Learning how the people of Keels see and understand their cultural landscape we will be key to our success.

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