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‘Folk in Five’ launched in state

The Alabama Folklife Association (AFA) is asking Alabamians to share their folk traditions in 5-minute videos as part of a statewide “Folk in Five” initiative. Videos will be posted online, providing a wide range of folklife examples for access by educators and the public. Each month, the AFA will pick a winner to receive an AFA gift.

The Alabama Folklife Association was founded in 1980 to document, preserve, present, and promote the multicultural folkways of Alabama through research, education, and programming.

Folklife includes traditions passed down through families, communities, or work life. It could be a recipe, song, or story. Folklife is the way we learn to tie a fishing lure, lay out a garden, stitch a quilt, or celebrate a holiday.

Folk in Five is designed to highlight Alabama’s diversity of culture, history, art form, and environment expressed through its folk traditions.

“Folk in Five is a great way to spend time while at home,” said AFA Executive Director Emily Blejwas. “We hope it will inspire Alabamians not only to share their traditions, but to engage with family members from multiple generations and to express creativity. It’s also a great activity for teachers to assign to students as a way to learn about local folklife.”

Annie Crenshaw, chairman of the Butler County Bicentennial Committee, said: “Our bicentennial celebration last year showcased exactly the kinds of folkways that could be videoed for ‘Folk in Five.’ We had John Bogan weaving chair bottoms, the Avant quilting group working on a gorgeous quilt, and local Seven Shape Convention singers. These are all excellent candidates for folklife videos.”

Barbara Middleton, president of the Butler County Historical Society, also encourages local residents to participate.

“The Historical Society has been preserving the history and heritage of Butler County and its people since 1964,” she said. “We’ve mainly focused on preservation through printed media: documents, books, photographs, letters, family bibles, cemetery surveys, a quarterly with historical articles, and more.”

“Today, the Alabama FolkLife Association is hosting a great opportunity to share visual images of our heritage with ‘Folk in Five’ videos,” Middleton continued. “Don’t we wish we all had videos of a grandmother making a quilt, or a neighbor plowing his garden with a mule? We hope to see Butler County videos on the AFA web site!”

Videos can be sent by email to: Footage should include the participant’s name, county, tradition, and how she/he learned the tradition. Participants can also involve those who taught them and/or those they are teaching (when safe). Videos should be no more than 5 minutes in length. If you have questions, call: 251-289-0757.

Read more about the Association’s work to preserve and share Alabama folklife on their web site:


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