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Public Programs

The Public Programs Section of the American Folklore Society provides a support and information network for individuals and organizations working in public folklore. It is the largest AFS section, and supports an active network of public agencies, independent non-profit organizations, and public folklorists working in many different ways to support traditional artists and communities and educate the public about folk culture. The section is also interested in education in public folklore and in maintaining an open dialogue with academic folklore programs on issues of mutual interest and concern.

Public Programs Section dues are $20 per year for individuals and $5 for students. Membership includes the right to vote on section business and to receive the Bulletin. AFS membership is not required for section membership. If you want to support the range of activities noted below, please join us by becoming a member and paying PPS membership dues.

The section holds an annual meeting during the AFS conference to conduct section business, to discuss issues of importance to public folklore, and to hear reports from on various activities from small and large institutions. Here’s a listing of our other major activities, both during the year and at the meetings:

  • The section sponsors a lively fundraising auction to raise money for section award programs and advocacy efforts for the field.
  • The section sponsors the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for excellence in public folklore, which is awarded by the Society and the section.
  • The section sponsors the  Archie Green Student Travel Award – multiple awards are made to help defray costs to students to attend the annual meetings.
  • The section also contributes to the Independent Folklorists section’s annual travel award to help fund travel to the meetings by a member of that section.
  • The section publishes the annual Public Programs Bulletin, with reports from public folklore organizations and independent folklorists on their activities and programs, discussions of current issues, and a directory of section members.
  • Looking for a public folklorist? Please see The Folklore Commons for a directory of state and local public folklore organizations.

The section is overseen by two co-conveners who are chosen for three-year terms. In addition, several standing committees see to the work of the section during the year. These include a Program Committee for organizing section-sponsored sessions at the annual meeting and the awards and activities noted above: a Botkin Prize Committee for reviewing nominations and recommending an award recipient to the AFS Board; an Archie Green Student Travel Award Committee to select award recipients; and an Auction Committee, responsible for organizing the annual fundraising auction. In addition, temporary committees are occasionally appointed to act on short-term projects for the section.

 Public Programs Section’s Advocacy Toolkit

The section has prepared this helpful guide to doing public folklore advocacy work.

The Public Programs Bulletin

Back issues of this Public Programs Section publication from 2001 through 2008 are now available online. We will add earlier issues in the coming months.

The Publore Listserv

Although not directly or officially connected with AFS, Publore is a valuable tool and communication link for the public folklore community. The Publore listserv was launched in November of 1996 by Claude Stephenson of New Mexico Arts.  Issues of concern to public folklore, requests for information or assistance, job postings, announcements of events, exhibits and publications are noted in and discussed through this online forum. The Publore Archive, which contains past Publore postings grouped by week, also includes instructions for joining the listserv.

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 ($20 regular, $5 student).


The 2019-2021 conveners of this section are Evangeline Mee, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Naomi Sturm-Wijesinghe, Philadelphia Folklore Project.

Contact the section conveners at [email protected].

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