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Independent Folklorists

Independent folklorists provide professional consulting services ranging from fieldwork to strategic planning and are increasingly important to arts, cultural, educational, academic, and tourism organizations.

To see some of the varied work our members do, visit the Roster of Independent Folklorists who Maintain Private Consulting Practices.

History: Since 1985, independent folklorists have been presenting panels and forums on contract folklore work at AFS meetings. In 1998 independent folklorists began to meet annually as an interest group of the AFS Public Programs Section. It soon became clear that the field of independent consulting folklorists was growing, and that independent folklorists’ issues and concerns are particular to self-employed contractors and small businesses.For this reason, at the 2000 AFS meeting in Columbus, Ohio, the interest group sought section status. The first official meeting of the Independent Folklorists’ Section was held at the 2001 AFS meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

Since its official launch in 2001, the Section has sponsored organized panels and paper sessions on aspects of independent folklore at the annual AFS meetings as well as at state and regional folklore meetings. In addition to this, the Section sponsors professional development workshops on special interest topics and the business aspects of contract folklore for current and prospective independent folklorists.

Resource Archive

The Section also maintains a growing resource archive which includes a series of web pages devoted to topics such as funding sources, grant writing tips, and dialogue facilitation.

Position Statement on Compensation for Self-Employed Folklorists

Expertise as well as expectations and remuneration for independent folklorists vary greatly. As such, independent folklorists have a vested interest in discipline-wide discussions about standards and practices in work, pay and fieldwork ethics. The Independent Folklorists’ Section takes an active role in these discussions within AFS as well as with state and federal agencies. See the AFS position statement on Compensation for Self-Employed Folklorists.

The section convener is Cecelia Ottenweller.

Contact the section conveners at [email protected].

Get Involved

Sign in to the AFS Member Portal to join the section and ensure you’re receiving section communications. All of your section involvement can be managed under My Info.

Click here to pay section dues ($10).

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