February 26, 2013
Folklore is the foundation of a culture. It is the sum total of the stories, experiences, art and beliefs of the people living in that culture. But much of it is hidden, and it is the task of the folklorist to discover a people’s heritage and communicate it to others. In a world frequently torn by ethnic and sectarian conflict, the role of the folklorist has expanded to that of peacemaker. The artistic, human and material expressions of culture unearthed by the folklorist offer a way forward for validating all the cultural traditions that comprise our modern societies.
Kiran Singh Sirah is a modern day folklorist. He began his career as an artist and teacher. This led him to establish a number of award winning peace and conflict resolution programs in museums and cultural centers in the UK, focused on sectarian, ethnic and religious conflict, poverty, and gang violence.
He went on to develop arts-led projects exploring modern slavery violations, war, and issues facing socially marginalized peoples. He is now a Rotary Peace Fellow and a folklorist interested in the power of human creativity, arts and social justice to build a truly multicultural society, based on understanding and peace.
Kiran’s new toolkit, Telling Stories That Matter, is a “How To” for prospective folklorists. He created this easy to use guide with support for its production by the Partners for Democratic Change, Laina Reynolds Levy, Editor.
Download the free toolkit here and find specific guidance from storytelling to theater production to slam poetry.
Additional folklorist resources:
- http://citylore.org/ – City Lore (New York City)
- http://www.folkloreproject.org/ – Philadelphia Folklore Project
- http://www.folklife.si.edu – Smithsonian Folklife and Heritage Center
Photo credits for this post and the video include:
- Cover: acknowledgement to Mike Snyder (link is: http://interdependentpictures.org/about/)
- P. 9 Melani Douglass: acknowledgement to Kirandeep Singh Sirah (link is: http://rotarypeacecenternc.org/peace-fellow-profiles/current-fellows/class-10/)
- P. 13 ‘Capturing the Unexpected—young boy’s face’: acknowledgement to Mike Snyder ((link is: http://interdependentpictures.org/about/)
- P. 19 ‘A conversation with Annie Johnson’: acknowledgement to Kirandeep Singh Sirah (link is: http://rotarypeacecenternc.org/peace-fellow-profiles/current-fellows/class-10/)
- P. 32 ‘J at the Shelter’: acknowledgement to Kirandeep Singh Sirah (link is: http://rotarypeacecenternc.org/peace-fellow-profiles/current-fellows/class-10/)