November 29, 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.

Martín Ramírez and the USPS

by Evan Hatch   In a quirky and remarkable gesture, the United States Post Office issued a limited-edition set of Forever stamps featuring the work of Sr. Martín Ramírez. This gesture is remarkable because this semi-famed Mexican American artist is considered by many to be a visionary artist - a category of artists generally relegated to the sidelines of the art game. Visionary art is often classified … [Read more...]

Calvin Trillin expounds on NC BBQ

by Evan Hatch Calvin Trillen's thoughtful New Yorker piece offers some insights into the battle over North Carolina BBQ, and into North Carolina culture. It is a pleasant piece and its greatest strength is to recognize the futility in defining North Carolina BBQ. We know what BBQ is. And we know what it isn't. No amount of written words can change … [Read more...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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...]