October 14, 2015

NC Field is the North Carolina Folklife Institute's blog about folklore in the field and about the field of folklore.

Here you’ll find an eclectic combination of topics and treatments:
Celebrations of our state’s tradition bearers and of the expressions of the diverse cultural heritages found across North Carolina’s 100 counties. Reflections from practicing folklorists on their experiences, whether sharing great stories and pictures or unexpected challenges of fieldwork. And musings on the art and science of folklore documentation and theory – new trends, making connections, happy accidents . . . maybe even a radical suggestion or two. You just never know what you might discover when you start connecting the dots.

You can also join our Facebook page or our Twitter feed to keep up with the latest issues and events in North Carolina folklife.

Watch This Is My Home Now: The Montagnard Community in Greensboro

This Is My Home Now

by Evan Hatch Documentarian Mariah Dunn Kramer found her calling early in film making through a fortuitous turn of events. In 2013, her participation through the "Smithsonian Young Historians, Living Histories" program led Kramer to conduct intensive oral history work with with Greensboro’s Montagnard youth. The experience only marked the beginning of this venture. This Is My Home Now documents the lives of … [Read more...]

Instagram for Nonprofits


by Tat'yana Berdan Recently some experts have begun to question the effectiveness of Facebook– the largest social media site – in helping an organization reach its followers. No matter how many followers you have, they may not see your posts unless you are willing to “boost” them (i.e., pay for them to show up). This new pay-to-play model has particularly hurt nonprofits, community organizations, and small … [Read more...]

Socially Conscious Organizations

A traditional nonprofit structure has a form similar to this one.

By Lea Efird Traditional structures of nonprofits are the realities for most of these entities, but hybrid and for-profit structures are on the rise in the US and internationally and have also been successful. If a nonprofit reevaluated its accomplishments, goals, etc., would the 501(c)(3) model be most effective for it, versus new legal/financial possibilities? Traditional Nonprofit Structure, Pros and … [Read more...]

Contra Dancing in Carrboro

Every good contra dancer needs a pair of comfortable shoes!

by Tat'yana Berdan “‘Hunker down’ is a technical term in contra.” The above is one of the many verbal gems I overheard last weekend at the Friday night contra dance held in Carrboro’s Century Center. My friend Dana introduced me to contra dancing my freshman year of college. I took ballroom lessons for many years as a little girl and was itching to dance again, so I agreed to try it, despite having no … [Read more...]

Tyris Jones, Storytelling as a Craft

Storyteller Tyris Jones

by Sarah Bryan By returning to his roots, Tyris Jones discovered a new path in life. The Laurinburg native lived away from his hometown for years, but when he came back to live in Scotland County, he was inspired to combine his professional background and his family traditions into a new career as a storyteller. Jones has always had a love for stories and performance. He remembers absorbing his older relatives’ … [Read more...]

Help NC continue its forward looking arts policy


The North Carolina Arts Council has released a draft plan for the arts over the next four years and is seeking public input through an online survey. The document that results will be a new strategic plan to shape the future of NC arts for the next four years – 2015-2019. If you think this is just a bureaucratic requirement that doesn’t connect to your daily arts experience, you should think again. Whether they … [Read more...]

Encouraging “Place-Rooted” Development: Notes from Stone Country

stone cutting demonstration

by Joseph O'Connell In the late 1970s, Bedford, Indiana began investing in the construction of a nine-story-tall pyramid. Made from locally-quarried limestone, the pyramid was intended as the centerpiece and chief attraction of a heritage park interpreting the local architectural stone industry. As a symbol, it would invite the comparison between Bedford’s achievements and those of a great, ancient … [Read more...]

Ethics of the documented – Finding Vivian Maier

Finding Vivian Maier poster

The newly released documentary Finding Vivian Maier tells the story of John Maloof's purchase of a box full of old negatives at auction, hoping they would relate to the book he was writing about his Chicago neighborhood. Instead, they led him to the discovery of street photographer Vivian Maier. As Maloof learns more about her work (which is stunning), he tries to uncover more about the woman as well. The film … [Read more...]

May Day – Tom Dula’s Hanging and the Ethics of the Documented

Tom Dula's grave

On this day in history - May 1, 1868 - Thomas C. Dula was hanged in Statesville, NC for the murder of Laura Foster. Dula (pronounced "Dooley"), the bloody murder, and subsequent trial became the infamous subjects of the "Ballad of Tom Dooley." Much has been written over the years about the actual murder, the ballad, and American murder ballads in general. (And if you meander through the links in this post, you … [Read more...]

Storytelling Animals

Listen to Your Mother logo

by Joy Salyers, Executive Director On May 6th and 8th, I’ll be participating in the Raleigh performances of a national movement called Listen to Your Mother. 32 cities nationwide are hosting these live staged readings in honor of Mother's Day, each directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities. Last year was the first time Raleigh participated, and the show quickly sold out. Not a … [Read more...]