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Untangling the uncertainties of 'the living word': considering folk schools and informal education communities 
Kelley Totten (Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador)
Devon Lee (Lakehead University)
Sarah Craycraft (Indiana University)
Jacquana Smith (University of Cincinnati)
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Historical Approaches
Saturday 10 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Prague

Short Abstract:

How do creative education spaces respond to environmental, economic, & cultural uncertainties? We invite scholars in folklore, education & craft to explore historical connections & contemporary enactments of folk school ideas, engaging tensions between progressive ideals & actualized social change.

Long Abstract:

"[T]oday the existence of any common life is everywhere in doubt. Self-appointed saviors distract and manipulate the people with preoccupied frantic energy, or with promises of an easy peace, and the true life of loyalty and commitment is sacrificed in the marketplace" (quoted in Spicer, 9). This lament of contemporary progress and development as a threat to the foundations of social life was translated from Nikolai Grundtvig, a nineteenth-century Danish philosopher whose writings inspired the folkehøjskole (folk high school). Grundtvig advocated a holistic, noncompetitive approach to popular adult education that would enlighten rural people. His philosophies took hold through Scandinavia, inspiring similar folk schools in North America in the early 1900s.

Examining the historical connections between U.S. and Canadian folk school initiatives and their Scandinavian and global counterparts, this panel and roundtable will bring together scholars working in folklore, education, and craft histories to discuss contemporary enactments of "the living word," a Grundtvigian approach to education that emphasizes experiential learning and engages hands, hearts, and minds. We welcome papers that engage directly or relate to folk school ideologies and current movements in communities of creative education to help unravel the tensions between progressive ideals and actualized social change in the face of environmental, social, economic, and cultural uncertainties.

How does traditional knowledge circulate and get re-inscribed in these spaces? How might these places and initiatives serve as tactics for individuals as they grapple with some of the untenable and uncertain aspects of contemporary life?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -