5th International Conference of Young Folklorists "Folklore of Connections, Folklore of Conflict" in Viljandi, October 7-9, 2015

International conference organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore (University of Tartu), Viljandi Culture Academy (University of Tartu), and Tartu Nefa Group, in partnership with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (Vilnius).

Keynote speakers: Dr Alexander Panchenko (Institute of Russian Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences/St. Petersburg State University) and Dr William Westerman (New Jersey City University).

The 2015 Conference of Young Folklorists is the fifth of its kind, following previous meetings in Tartu (2011, 2013) and Vilnius (2012, 2014). The conference aims to foster academic communication, collaboration and research in the field of folklore by bringing together advanced students and recently graduated scholars from different countries and giving them an opportunity to present their research to an international audience. The forthcoming event will be the first one to be held at and in cooperation with the Viljandi Culture Academy, a college of the University of Tartu that provides applied higher education in music, Estonian native crafts and various other areas of culture.

The 2015 conference "Folklore of Connections, Folklore of Conflict" focuses on the role of folklore in the formation of relationships and attitudes, as well as confrontations. Folklore bridges and connects individuals and groups, providing them with means to construct, reinforce, display, or question identities and cultural patterns. As numerous examples from history show, however, folklore serves also as an instrument for exclusion and othering. The same stories, gestures, patterns and objects can be invested with different meanings in varying contexts. Hence, the topics of interest for the conference include but are not limited to:

  • The power of genres and themes to connect, unify, mediate and divide;
  • The role of music and material culture in communication, consolidation and separation;
  • The role of authority in uniting or creating dissent: domination and the arts of resistance; creativity as conformism or dissidence;
  • Choices (in-)between inclusion and exclusion: majority, marginalization and the art of staying betwixt and between;
  • Religious/folk/vernacular beliefs as connecting/dividing agents;
  • Means of monologue and the promotion of dialogue: essential conditions and possible outcomes;
  • The relationship between the researcher and people in the field, their respective strategies, tactics and consequences thereof; the results of intervening in each other's life;
  • Questions of ownership, authorship and creative reworking of traditions;
  • The role of folklore studies in shaping the public discourses in knowledge and policy making.

The ever-growing interest in the International Conference of Young Folklorists attests to a need for such a forum. The three-day program of this year’s meeting features around 50 presentations from 17 countries in Asia, Europe, North and South America as well as two keynote lecturers.

The meeting is made possible through generous support from the following organisations and institutions: the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Embassy of the United States in Tallinn, the Council of Gambling Tax, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (National Sciences Programme), and the Estonian Research Council (Institutional Research Project "Tradition, Creativity and Society: Minorities and Alternative Discourses" (IUT2-43)).

    Attendance at the conference is free. Evening programmes are for registered participants only and the number of places is limited.

    For more information, please contact organisers ( youngfolklorists@gmail.com; tel. +372 737 6256+372 737 6256).

    Video recordings of the keynote lectures are available at the UTTV video server:

      Organizing Committee: Anastasiya Astapova, Kristi Jõeste, Kristel Kivari, Lembe Lahtmaa, Lina Leparskienė, Margaret Lyngdoh, Ave Matsin, Liisi Reitalu, Madis Rennu, Elo-Hanna Seljamaa, Pihla Maria Siim, Keiu Telve, Ülo Valk.