Aim­ing to re­search cur­rent go­ings on in com­mu­nity

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­

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.

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