Folklorists Converge on Providence

Last month anthropologist Winifred Lambrecht, a senior lecturer in History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences, helped host the American Folklore Society’s annual conference, which she organized around the theme of cultural sustainability. More than 1,000 folklorists gathered at Providence’s Omni Hotel for the four-day conference.

Lambrecht and her team scheduled more than 140 sessions to address the theme and “also generated six sessions of our own choosing,” she says, “including one that I moderated: Our Survival/Notre Survivance: The Franco-Americans in New England.”image

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Narragansett craftsman Allen Hazard is among the regional artists who were highlighted at the AFS conference.

Thanks to Lambrecht’s efforts, the conference tapped into New England’s unique blend of cultures. She organized a walking tour of local Latino restaurants led by Director of RI Latino Arts Marta Martinez and a traditional arts marketplace featuring work by dozens of regional artists, from members of the indigenous Narragansett and Penobscot communities to recent immigrants from Bosnia and Somalia.

Visiting scholars also enjoyed ghost tours of Benefit Street led by RI folklorist Dr. Michael Bell, an inside look at local arts collective AS220 led by the organization’s founder and artistic director Bert Crenca and complimentary admission to the RISD Museum.

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