Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preliminary thoughts on the folklore of the Baccalieu Trail

We had our first meeting for the (yet-to-be-more-sexily-renamed) Baccalieu Trail Public Folklore Project last night. We had about 30 people present, with representation from Bay Roberts, Brigus, Carbonear, Clarke's Beach, New Perlican, Roche's Line, and Winterton! We also had four graduate students from Memorial University Department of Folklore's new Public Folklore program.

Melissa Squarey, our new ICH Programs assistant, gave an introduction to intangible cultural heritage, and then I facilitated a discussion about what elements of folklore existed in the region and in the memories of the participants. Topics ranged from memories of small commercial stores and shops, to local nicknames, rhymes, parades, and the best way to cure warts.

At the end of the session, participants ranked items in terms of what they were most worried about losing. Below is a rough list of the things communities feel are most under threat in the region, with the areas of most concern listed first:

  • Old Time Concerts
  • Yarns, informal tales, and the context of storytelling
  • Location, Fishing Marks, Boatbuilding and Nautical Lore
  • Accents/linguistics
  • Faeries
  • Agriculture/Farming
  • Vocabulary
  • Food Rituals
  • Geographic Names
  • Recitation
  • Fabric Arts
  • Photo Albums

Next up: We'll be developing a series of training workshops for the region (which will be in various communities, and open to people from outside of the region as well). We'll also be putting on our collective thinking caps to come up with some sort of public folklore project based around some of these themes.

Have ideas? Want to get involved? Email your friendly neighbourhood folklorist at

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