Folklore Studies Association of Canada Public Lectures

The Folklore Studies Association of Canada / L’Association canadienne d’ethnologie et de folklore Annual Meeting
May 25-27 2018 | UPEI Main Building 

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
OPENING REMARKS: Friday, May 25, 5-6:30 p.m., Main Building Faculty Lounge, followed by LECTURE: “Recueillir, conserver et partager la chanson traditionnelle acadienne de l’Île-du-Prince- Édouard” by Georges Arsenault

LECTURE: Saturday, May 26, 5-6:30 p.m., Carriage House, Beaconsfield, 2 Kent Street, Charlottetown: “The Witch & the Song Maker as Law Givers in Island Farming & Fishing Communities” by John Cousins

ROUNDTABLE AND READING: Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m. to noon: “A Tribute to Sandy Ives,” with Laurie Brinklow, John Cousins, Pauleena MacDougall, and Rob MacLean of The Homestead Players

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Two pre-eminent Island folklorists receive prestigious Marius Barbeau Medal

From 25-27 May 2018, The Folklore Studies Association of Canada / L’Association canadienne d’ethnologie et de folklore held its annual meeting at the University of Prince Edward Island in collaboration with the Institute of Island Studies.

This year’s theme, “Carried on the Waves: Contemporary Currents in Folklore and Ethnology / Porté par les Vagues: Courants Actuels d’Ethnologie et de Folklore,” inspired researchers to explore the flow of expression among various groups over time and place.

Prince Edward Island has long served and continues to serve as an integral hub for multicultural contacts. As Marius Barbeau, widely acknowledged as the founder of Canadian folklore, observed in the Journal of American Folklore in 1918, “Prince Edward Island and some other parts of the Maritime Provinces are very conservative centers in which folklore still flourishes.” To this day the Island’s resilient communities continue their long legacy of offering key insights into the expression and transmission of communally maintained knowledge. Whether it is farming and fishing communities redefining their relationships to the land and sea based on the present realities of climate change, the digital construction of narrative in videogame design attracting new Canadians forging their own pathways, or the composition of a fiddle tune for commercial production within the music industry, all of the Island’s groups contribute to our understanding the ebb and flow of human experience.

The executive of FSAC/ACEF were very pleased to announce that both Georges Arsenault and John Cousins, two of Prince Edward Island’s most esteemed folklorists, were to receive the association’s Marius Barbeau Medal. The medal is given in recognition of remarkable individual contributions to folklore and ethnology through teaching, research, and communication―activities in which both Arsenault and Cousins have excelled. Previous recipients of the Barbeau Medal with fieldwork links to PEI include Dr. John Shaw and the late Dr. Edward “Sandy” Ives.

As Dr. Edward MacDonald, Chair of UPEI’s Department of History notes, “In the year when the Folklore Studies Association of Canada is meeting on PEI, it seems entirely appropriate to recognize two giants of Prince Edward Island folklore for their career contributions to the collection, study, dissemination, and popularization of folklore within this province and beyond: Georges Arsenault and John Cousins. Both Georges and John were born into the communities they have studied, giving them the unique perspective that comes from being at the same time both outsiders and insiders in their research. Both live a conviction that scholarship has a responsibility to speak to the general populace, a duty to help us all better understand the culture that forms our mental and physical landscapes.”

Both Arsenault and Cousins gave free lectures open to the general public as part of the conference. Arsenault presented a lecture in French on traditional songs with examples from his fieldwork in PEI’s Acadian communities, entitled “Recueillir, conserver et partager la chanson traditionnelle acadienne de l’Île-du-Prince- Édouard” on Friday, 25 May, 5:00-6:30PM at the Faculty Lounge, SDU Main Building, UPEI. Cousins presented a lecture from his fieldwork and historical research in West Prince communities and beyond in “The Witch & the Song Maker as Law Givers in Island Farming & Fishing Communities” on Saturday, 26 May, 5:00-6:30PM, at Beaconsfield Carriage House, PEI Museum & Heritage Foundation, in downtown Charlottetown.

FOR THE TRIBUTE BY DR. ED MACDONALD to GEORGES ARSENAULT and JOHN COUSINS, read on…