Local Learning 2020 AFS Reports

Sep 23, 2020

As the national arts service organization for folk arts, we share to the field our activities. Given the virtual nature of the meeting of the American Folklore Society, we are sharing in this news post the full report.

5 children hold flower arrangements


  • The Journal of Folklore and Education is a peer-reviewed publication available online as a free resource of Local Learning, the national arts service organization for folk arts and education.
  • The 2020 special issue “Teaching for Equity: The Role of Folklore in a Time of Crisis and Opportunity” features articles and case studies to examine how the tools of folklore—such as observation, identifying important traditions and artforms, and deep listening to diverse narratives through interviews—create opportunities for addressing significant social justice questions because the study of folk arts centers students’ linguistic, cultural, social, and racial pluralities.
  • Learning Locally Learning at home? This page is designed to highlight activities and ideas for learning very locally–in our own homes and neighborhoods. New activities are being added often. We will announce when new entries are added on Follow us there for updates! Share your favorite Learning Locally activities with us and we will add it with credit to you if we accept it.



Please put on our schedule the 2020 Local Learning Workshop co-sponsored by the AFS Folklore and Education Section happening Thursday, October 15th, 10:30-noon ET. (See https://www.afsnet.org/BlankCustom.asp?page=AMOnlineProgram): This summer, more than 45 teachers took part in a Local Learning and Oklahoma State University workshop, “Teaching and Learning the Narratives, Spaces, and Legacies of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.” Discover how these teachers are engaging with challenging history in their classrooms since the workshop. Identify how folklore tools can inform antiracist programs and outreach. Finally, participate in hands-on activities to replicate in your virtual programming, online classrooms (including higher education), or with your own learners at home.


  • Local Learning has been an active partner in developing the Living Traditions Network website, a collaborative effort of traditional artists, organizations, and communities that sustain living traditions.
  • Local Learning and the National Council for Traditional Arts sit in on many national advocacy calls to a) ensure the perspective of folk arts and b) engage our networks in national efforts. We are pleased the folk traditions are specifically mentioned in the “Putting Creative Workers to Work” advocacy statement: “Support and incentivize private, state, local, and tribal philanthropic investment in arts-based education and educators. Through federal funds distributions and guidelines, matching grants, forgivable loans, and other available mechanisms, including possible extension of the universal charitable deduction, support the arts in both schools and community cultural spaces, including arts-integrated teaching, place-based arts and cultural practice, intergenerational education, oral histories, and the preservation of folk traditions that elevate a community’s history and culture, including on tribal lands.”
  • We have been mapping folklore’s Creative Responses to Current Events that can serve as inspiration and catalyst for projects in classrooms and learning spaces across the nation.
  • Local Learning will be finishing our term serving on the Arts Education Partnership Advisory Council. We advocated for the inclusion of folk arts on the council, and they have named Folk Arts as one of their top priority areas for recruitment.


If you want to bring us to your community or organization for professional development or a project (large or small), let us know. Some examples of projects we have been engaged in for 2020 include:

  • Arts Education Curriculum Guide for Idaho Commission on the Arts, an 80+ page, standards aligned, “Way Out In Idaho Learning Guide” for classroom teachers. (2019-2020)
  • Acadiana Center for the Arts workshop for exhibit Louisiana Trail Riders photographs by Jeremiah Ariaz. (January)
  • Vermont Folklife Center Discovering Community planning and consultancy (February)
  • The Arts and Creative Responses to Louisiana’s Land Loss with The Bayou Culture Collaborative—a project of the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Louisiana Folklore Society, and other organizations. (postponed from March to September)
  • Texas Folklife Creative Forces Curriculum Review (April)
  • Virginia Folklife Program, Artists in the Schools (Spring)
  • Culture, Community, and the Classroom in Upstate NY (July workshop, Fall artist visits to classrooms)
    • Save the Date: The public is welcome to join teachers, artists, and folklorists at a virtual gathering hosted by The Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY on November 21 for our culminating event.
  • Teaching and Learning the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (July workshops)
  • Business 101 Training for Folk and Traditional Artists hosted by New York Folklore (August)
  • National Arts Education Association webinar for members on Folk Arts (June)
  • The Acadian Brown Cotton Project (On-going through Fall 2020-Spring 2021)