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Grant Award: Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest

September 9, 2020

We are excited to announce that a new three-year, $1.5 million dollar Folk Arts and Cultures grant has been awarded to the  “Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest” initiative. Concluding in June of 2023, they’ll be continuing to conduct fieldwork and outreach in the Upper Midwest, teach courses, host events, and produce public programming focused on Nordic American folk arts and the immigrant experience in the region.

The initiative has worked with artists, musicians, and scholars from five Nordic countries and eight different states in the past three years. They have collaborated with community organizations, state agencies, and cultural institutions to bring folk arts to a new generation of students and community members through public events, field schools, and university classes. In addition, they have hosted symposia, worked with graduate student folklorists to conduct field surveys, and created a variety of public productions, from online and traveling exhibitions to CDs to books to short films.

Photo of field school in Upper MichiganThey’re excited for the next phase of this grant as they build on the events and connections they have forged, but with several new activities. They are continuing the summer graduate fieldwork program and instituting two new programs: post-doctoral fellowships and an artist- and musician-in-residence program. The fellowships will employ two post-doctoral public folklorists for two-year programs to teach public folklore courses and work with artists and musicians in the region. The residency programs are investments in master artists who will be invited to campus for a semester to work with campus collections, community members and organizations, scholars, and students to inspire and inform their art. Artists will work with folklore courses so that undergraduate and graduate students can interact closely with them and develop their own skills and cultural knowledge for future dissemination. These experiences will help ensure a collaborative environment that engages people at all levels of competency.

There will, of course, be more to come, including annual symposia to amplify the work of artists, musicians, and cultural institutions. Please visit their website [folklife.wisc.edu] for more details about the artists they have partnered with, upcoming events, and ongoing public programming, including upcoming online exhibits.