FOLKLORIST STARTING UP NEW PROJECT IN BAY ROBERTS
Aiming to research current goings on in community
The Bay Roberts Public Library is preparing for an upcoming project that may be of interest to people with a knack for local knowledge.
Kathy Foley is a relatively new resident of Marysvale, who, like many people in Newfoundland and Labrador, has a particular interest in the province’s culture, both past and present. It’s this passion that brought her to Memorial University, here she studied folklore for several years, and came out of the university a properly trained folklorist, with an M.A. in the subject - a path that’s opened up a number of opportunities over the years.
Now, however, Foley intends to take her passion for folklore to the public, where she hopes to drum up interest in the subject, and give people an opportunity to take part in a larger project, even if the participants have no prior experience with folklore or what it entails.
Participants in the project will meet at the Bay Roberts Public Library, taking place on five successive Wednesdays throughout October, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 each week.
Over that period of time, Foley hopes to not only come out of the project with a solid final product, but also answer some questions from not only herself, but the general public as well, which explore the relevancy of folklore in Newfoundland and Labrador today.
“The relevance, to me, is about collecting information about what’s going on right here, right now, in the province,” Foley explained. “In some ways, that’s just as important as documenting things related to, for example, the fishery. That’s really the crux of it for me - to get a shot at what’s going on now. There’s a lot of things happening now, and this is about what’s going on in your community that you’re modernizing, or that you’re trying to transition to a new tradition. If we don’t collect what’s going on now, we’ll just think that our culture died, and that’s really not the case.”
However, Foley also went on to say that another driving factor behind the project was the folklore department at Memorial University, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“I’m not involved with the folklore department anymore, but as an alumni, I feel like I really want to honour the first chair of that department,” Foley said of Herbert Halpert, who, alongside his wife Violetta, has been a major influence on her life, given that both Halpert and Foley are New Yorkers who moved to Newfoundland later in life. “There must be thousands of unemployed arts graduates in this province. We’ve gotten into a habit of where, if we consider ourselves unemployed, then we eventually just stop doing what we love, and what might be the best parts of our lives - that is, collecting information as folklorists.”
This realization is something that drove Foley to take on this project. She says that even though she is not currently working in a folklore related field, her passion for the subject still burns as bright as ever, and she hopes to see this upcoming project not only re-ignite some flames that may have fizzled out for her over the years, but to also introduce the idea of folklore to residents of Bay Roberts and surrounding communities.
“I want this to be informative, and also easily accessible for people. You don’t need a cellphone, or laptop, or anything like that. A pen and some paper is all people will need, and we’ll see where this takes us.”
Foley says the project will take up to 10 people, with a minimum of just one person. Depending on the success of the project this time around, Foley also indicated that it would be something she would be very interested in doing again in the future.
For those looking to take part in Foley’s project, she can be contacted at 1-709-364-2506 for more information.
“If we don’t collect what’s going on now, we’ll just think that our culture died, and that’s really not the case.”
— Kathy Foley
The Bay Roberts Public Library will host Kathy Foley’s folklore project sessions throughout the month of October.