Telling Stories that Matter – The Art of the Folklorist


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 Sinkiran singh sirahgh 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:

Photo credits for this post and the video include:


Related posts:

  1. Art as a Social Force for Change – a Folklorist for Peace Relates the Stories of Life

About Rebecca Popham

Rebecca Popham is the Managing Editor for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation-USA website. Her current work with Orion Wellspring, Inc., a consultancy for authors and entrepreneurs, includes developing content and editorial strategies for clients. As Creative Director, Rebecca led the project team that designed and developed two interactive companion CDs for Southwestern Publishing Company and Delmar Publishers. She also developed a joint Washington State and Japanese Community College program to train health care workers, part of the effort being onsite in Kobe, Japan. Rebecca holds an M.A. in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University-Seattle, and is also an active, dedicated hospice volunteer for Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, WA.
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