From Oct. 17 – 20, the 130th annual meeting of the American Folklore Society convened in Buffalo, welcoming over 800 folklorists and community scholars from 26 countries for a four-day conference featuring panel sessions, artist demonstrations, professional development workshops, regional cultural heritage tours, presentations, musical performances, professional networking, and plenary lectures. Niagara University's Castellani Art Museum curator of folk arts, Edward Y. Millar, and director, Kate Koperski, were part of the eight-member local planning committee that co-organized the meeting in Buffalo.
As members of the local planning committee, Millar and Koperski organized and led two bus tours exploring the cultural heritage of Buffalo and Niagara County. Millar also assisted the committee with community outreach, organizing the local traditional artist demonstrations and musical performances, graphic design for the New York Traditions Showcase, inviting local community leaders as panelists and participants in the conference, and creating a conference specific local guide – covering food, arts, and culture – for attendees.
In addition to his work on the local planning committee, Edward Y. Millar – a member of the Cultural Diversity Committee of the American Folklore Society – co-organized the 2018 Experiments in Exhibitions Workshop with curators and folklorists from the HistoryMiami Museum, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Museum of International Folk Art. The three-hour workshop brought together folk art museum professionals from across the country for a hands-on workshop exploring best practices for museums to assist with community-generated projects. Millar was also a presenter and co-organizer on two panels, both focused on fostering community engagement initiatives and on supporting community grassroots organizations.
Other sessions during the American Folklore Society conference covered a range of subjects studied by folklorists, including: folk tales and contemporary narratives, foodways, heritage policies, traditional music and song, belief and healing practices, tourism, oral history, Native American studies, presenting local folklore to new audiences, folk art in education, and folklore in our digital era.
About the American Folklore Society
Founded in 1888, the American Folklore Society serves the field of folklore studies, comprised of people and institutions that study and communicate knowledge about folklore throughout the world. Headquartered on the campus of Indiana University-Bloomington, its 2,000 members and subscribers are scholars, teachers, and libraries at colleges and universities; public humanists working in arts and cultural organizations; and community members involved in folklore work.