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The New York Folklore Society, sponsors conferences for folklorists and people interested in folklore from all over the state. Educational lectures and presentations are planned with visits to interesting cultural sites, concerts, or dance parties, and good food and discussion. Won’t you join us?

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Conferences & Symposia

Annual Conference

Since its beginnings, NYFS has sponsored at least one conference a year. We provide educational offerings that appeal to folklorists and folklore students, professionals and students in related fields, educators, tradition bearers and traditional artists, and people interested in folklore from all over the state. The talk sessions—lectures and discussions—are balanced by such activities as boat tours, concerts or dance parties, visits to interesting cultural sites, and good food.

Save the Date!

New York Folklore Society’s
Members’ Annual Meeting and Gathering

March 10, 2015
5:00-8:00 p.m.
Union Hall
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Please RSVP here


NYFS Partnered with the Society for The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) for their 2014 Annual Conference

April 23-26, 2014, at The Strong, One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607


TASP is a multidisciplinary organization that promotes the study of play, support and cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes, and organize meetings and publications that facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information related to the study of play. TASP’s broad focus includes many disciplines and scholarly interests, including folklore and anthropology. With a shared interest in folklore and play, New York Folklore Society partnered with The Association for the Study of Play for their 2014 conference, “Connecting the Past, Present, and Future.”

From the left: Josh White Jr., Sonny Ochs, Oscar Brand and moderator Paul Mercer
at NYFS Fall Conference 2008, “The Folk Music Revival: Politics and Community”

For many years, these annual meetings of the New York Folklore Society focused on experiencing the folklore of specific regions of the state: Long Island, Chautauqua, Harlem, Watkins Glen, Saratoga Springs, and many more. Meetings in the past fifteen years have incorporated an Erie Canal boat ride (Seneca Falls, 1997), a guided walk through a Hudson Valley orchard (Clinton Corners, 1996), and an opportunity to drive at a NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack (Watkins Glen, 2004).

See Past Conferences to learn more about these events.

“Occupational Folklore” was the theme of the 2013 New York Folklore Society ’s annual conference, hosted by ArtsWestchester and produced in collaboration with ArtsWestchester and Long Island Traditions, March 2, 2013.

Panel on Apprenticeships


In 2010–2011, the Society embarked on a new conference format—a graduate student conference which showcased student work. These conferences have held at New York University (2010) and Binghamton University (2011).

READ the Conference Report for our 2011 conference, “Legends and Tales”
in Voices 37:3–4, 2011.

The New York Folklore Society’s programs are made possible in part with public funds from the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Council on the Arts

Symposia and Forums

The New York Folklore Society, Building Cultural Bridges, The American Folklore Society, and the New York State Council on the Arts presented


Friday, May 17, 2013, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501


Upstate New York has become home to an ever-expanding community of refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Layering upon an already rich infrastructure of arts organizations, there is a great potential for an increasingly varied cultural landscape. Yet many of the artists from these communities struggle to maintain their expressive and cultural heritage traditions in the face of overwhelming and immediate needs as they adapt to their new environment.

The public was invited to a workshop that explored merging the arts with social services to better serve these newcomer communities and to enliven our community at large.

Read more and see photos from the event.

Each year the New York Folklore Society holds informal forums and events on topics of interest to the folklore field, professionals in related fields, and NYFS members. The New York Folklore Society reaches out to communities across the state, forging new collaborative partnerships.

At the Low Bridge, Everybody Down! An Erie Canal Music Celebration NYFS presented two days of music, history, and family fun on November 2–3, 2012, at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. Workshops, concerts, presentations, discussions, and displays exploration of the rich musical heritage of the Erie Canal.

Erie Canal celebration

With Stitching Tradition: An Invitation to a Public Sewing Circle, NYFS, with funding from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, provided for an embroiderer’s exchange at the History Center of Tompkins County in November 2011. It included an exhibit of the work of Eniko Farkas of Ithaca and Very Nakonechny of Philadelphia, PA. Also included were four weavers from the Karen community of Utica who brought a Southeast Asian perspective to the gathering.

READ about more of the Society’s past Symposia and Forums.

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org