Folklore and the Wisconsin Idea: Engaging Public Folklore in the Upper Midwest and Beyond

Join us on September 20, 21, and 22 for Folklore and the Wisconsin Idea: Engaging Public Folklore in the Upper Midwest and Beyond. This three day event will explore the engagement of folklore studies with the Wisconsin Idea, specifically examining the ways that the discipline has contributed to shaping the collection, analysis, preservation, and presentation of folklore of the Upper Midwest and beyond and how those contributions can be applied or extended in the future.

Specifically, participants will be engaging with the work of Professors Janet Gilmore and Jim Leary, whose reaches across North America to Northern Europe, examining commercial fishing and folk music, Harleys and Hardanger embroidery, fish fries and lumbercamp song nights, landscapes and laborlore. The legacy of their work can be found in classrooms, state arts agencies, museums, archives, radio, film, and political arenas. These contributions have shaped what Folklore Studies is and can be as a discipline, in the Upper Midwest and beyond. Deeply rooted in fieldwork, public folklore methods, and theoretical debate, the work of Gilmore and Leary has pushed folklorists to create accessible, collaborative, and public scholarship that advocates for local communities that define their identities on the basis of class, gender, race, religion, occupation, and ethnic background. Their scholarship is not simply about the public, nor simply for the public, but also by the public.

We are excited to be joined by archivists, film makers, folklorists, musicians, and a host of people dedicated to public folklore.

The event is generously sponsored by the Anonymous Fund; the Borghesi-Mellon Workshop; the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures; the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic; and the Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest project. 

All events are free and open to the public. Click here for the full schedule. Click here if you are looking for accommodation options.