Assistant Professor in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology, Dr. Tim Frandy, worked with University of Wisconsin-Madison folklorists Dr. B. Marcus Cederström and Dr. Thomas DuBois to organize a public and applied folklore conference on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in September 2018. Titled Folklore and the Wisconsin Idea, the conference invited speakers to engage with the myriad ways that folklorists have removed boundaries between universities and communities, and worked with communities for the betterment of those communities. Presenters spoke to their own applied research in the region and across the country, organized around the conference’s daily themes of Engaging Communities and Performers, Archives and Collections, and Curation and Application.
The conference featured former WKU Folk Studies Professor Robert Teske (Cedarburg Cultural Center) and alumnus Kaitlyn Berle, now Folk and Traditional Arts Specialist at the Wisconsin Arts Board. Plenary speakers included Dr. Andy Kolovos (Vermont Folklife Center), Dr. Yvonne Lockwood (Michigan State University Museum, retired), Dr. Jens Lund (Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, retired), Dr. Richard March (Wisconsin Arts Board, retired), Nicki Saylor (American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress), and Dr. Claire Schmidt (Missouri Valley College).
Frandy and Cederström are currently working to develop these presentations into a co-edited volume on public and applied folklore research. The book, which currently on track for a 2020 publication date, will represent the first major co-edited volume on public folklore in more than two decades.
Photo: Folklorists gathering for a cool September picnic following the Folklore and the Wisconsin Idea conference, held September 20-22, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo: Nick Bastian)