AFS Webinars

AFS members: Sign in to receive free or discounted registration for future webinars sponsored by AFS and to access select materials from past webinars, including recordings, slides, handouts, notes, or Q&A documents.


Come back later for information about upcoming webinars.

Past Webinars 

March 10, 2021: Folklore Talks: Heritage, Folklore, and the Public Sphere.Sponsored by the Fellows of the American Folklore Society and the AFS Public Programs Section. Watch the recording here.

This webinar explores key conceptual issues and challenges in heritage theory, policy and practice in a webinar on March 10, 1:00-3:00 PM EST, . The webinar leaders will outline current ways of thinking about heritage, illuminated by their own experiences with public practice, field research and policy.

Speakers include:

  • Valdimar Hafstein (University of Iceland), Approaches to Cultural Heritage
  • Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (New York University, emeritus, and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews), Museums, Heritage and Social Transformation
  • Lucy Long (Bowling Green State University), Heritage Tourism through Foodways
  • Diana Baird N’Diaye (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage), Sharing Authority, Co-curation and Enabling Community Cultural Self-Determination
  • Owe Ronström (Uppsala University), Heritage, Nature Tourism and Entrepreneurship
  • Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University, emeritus), Public Folklore, Heritage, and Environmental Sustainability

This webinar is envisioned as the first step in a Heritage, Folklore and the Public Sphere Initiative that may also include mentoring opportunities as well as future panels and annual meeting events relating to heritage, folklore and the public sphere.

May 8, 2020: Virtual Breakout Session on Remote Fieldwork: Q and A to Discuss Particular Needs for Projects and Individuals, with Thomas Grant Richardson (independent folklorist, fieldworker, and traditional arts consultant) and John Fenn (American Folklife Center). Co-sponsored with the Missouri Folk Arts Program

This webinar will employ a more informal roundtable approach than the first two webinars, taking time to answer your questions and allowing you to think through your own struggles together with a group of colleagues who are similarly finding creative responses for their work.

May 1, 2020: Fieldwork and Digital Audio Technology: What to Know before You Go, with John Fenn (American Folklife Center) and Andy Kolovos (Vermont Folklife Center). Co-sponsored with the Oral History Association

This interactive webinar will provide beginning and seasoned fieldworkers alike with strategies and approaches for integrating digital audio capture technologies into their cultural documentation efforts. Given the rapid rate at which digital technologies and equipment change in the consumer world, it can be challenging to figure out what you want versus what you need. From complex jargon to varying definitions of “quality” and “resolution,” there can be a lot to know—and it is easy to get lost in the world of audio recording options.

The webinar leaders will emphasize some of the key factors to be aware of when planning for the use of digital fieldwork equipment, and will offer a range of tips and questions to consider. We hope to demystify the process of choosing and using digital audio equipment for ethnographic fieldwork and oral history interviewing, so in addition to discussing some of the basic technological aspects we will discuss a few recording scenarios common to this type of work.

Social distancing complicates face-to-face interviewing and fieldwork activity that involves audio recording, so in light of the risks posed by the coronavirus/COVID-19 to fieldworkers and participants alike we will explore options for remote audio capture. We will try to account for smartphone-based options as well as those available via personal computers, including both asynchronous and real-time interviewing.

April 24, 2020: Virtual Breakout Session on Remote Fieldwork: Getting Started in Making the Best of a Remote Situation, with Thomas Grant Richardson (independent folklorist, fieldworker, and traditional arts consultant). Co-sponsored with the Missouri Folk Arts Program

This webinar will address how fieldwork can be undertaken remotely in situations where distance is required. Richardson will discuss what tools one might need, what kind of work can be done remotely, and showcase and explore models to consider based on work being done for the Show Me Folk initiative from the Missouri Folk Arts Program.

December 11, 2019: Finding Common Ground at the Intersection of Cultural Sustainability and Oral History, led by former OHA President Linda Shopes and Amy Skillman, director of the Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability at Goucher College. Co-sponsored with the Oral History Association

Amy Skillman, director of the Goucher College Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability program, and former OHA President Linda Shopes, will present a webinar on the intersections between oral history practice and theoretical developments in the field of cultural studies. What can we learn from paying attention to each other?  How do complementary approaches strengthen our work?  Like the classic Venn diagram, what might happen in the middle when two allied disciplines, bring their methods, sensibilities, and theoretical frameworks to the same issue? 

Toward the end of their conversation, they will be joined by Heidi Lucero and Jasmin Temblador, graduates of the Goucher MA in Cultural Sustainability program who have drawn upon oral history to address sustainability concerns in their respective communities.  They will share specific case studies of their work: specifically, leadership empowerment among Latinx youth in South Central Los Angeles and the revitalization of traditional chin tattoos among California’s native communities.  We will reserve time at the end for further questions and comments.

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