2018 Summer Field School

Image of a midsummer bonfire in Toivola, Michigan, as part of a poster advertising a summer field school to be held in June of 2018.

In FOLKLORE 490: Field Methods and the Public Presentation of Folklore, students traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from June 19–24 to document Finnish-American folklife in a variety of communities. The field school centered around the Juhannus Mid-Summer Festival in Toivola, Michigan, where students conducted interviews with local folk artists, recorded the festival and folklife of the community, and created rich folklore documentation for archival preservation. This three-credit blended course began June 4 and ended July 1 and was open to juniors, seniors, and early-stage graduate students.

Students in the field school volunteered alongside community members in Toivola to build the bonfire for the local Juhannus festival to celebrate midsummer. John Prusynski, a graduate student in the course, documented the festival through photographs and interviews, which he combined into a photo essay about the celebration.