Our intangible cultural heritage office sometimes uses what we term a “project-based training” model. You can read all about that in this occasional paper. Yesterday, we took that model on the road, with a group of Memorial University students, to Heart's Content.
Dr. Jillian Gould is an Assistant Professor within Memorial University’s Department of Folklore, whose research interests include public folklore, ethnography, and fieldwork. Since 2011, her class has been partnering with HFNL to deliver a type of project-based training as a component of the graduate public sector folklore course. Typically, graduate students organize some kind of public folklore event or workshop, a model which engages the public while teaching the students practical and varied skills in facilitation, group work, community outreach, and project planning.
This semester, students are working on organizing a workshop on traditional Newfoundland set dancing, in cooperation with the Mizzen Heritage Square Dancers. Thos dancers will be coming into St. John's to run a workshop later in March, but I suggested that the students go out to Heart's Content, meet the dancers in advance, learn the dances, and be better able to facilitate the workshop when it happens.
So yesterday, two carloads of us drove out to Trinity Bay, and met up with the dancers of Heart's Content at the Society of United Fishermen Hall. The dancers demonstrated two dances, the old fashioned square dance, and the Lancers, and students were able to run through the square dance twice. Then everyone took part in the Virginia Reel, and finished up with a lunch prepared by the community. Students, where possible, did on-the-spot folklore interviews with many of the participants.
Some of the students had never been to Heart's Content, and the set dances were new to most of them. It was a great experience, and everyone was moved by the kindness and generosity of the folks from Heart's Content. At the end, the dancers made sure everyone left with a Heart's Content pin. It was tremendous fun, and a great way for students to see folklore in action, rather than just reading about it.
Stay tuned for more information on the in-town workshop itself.
Photos by Cyndi Egan.