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Cultural traditions are highlighted and shared in new Texas Folklife program

Some of the folklife traditions are culinary.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Some of the folklife traditions are culinary.

From Juneteenth celebrations to sauerkraut-making, the fellows in the inaugural Community Folklife Fellowship cohort are being trained as folklorists.

Folklore studies has traditionally been an academic endeavor. But a new program spearheaded by the nonprofit Texas Folklife aims to empower the community members who already maintain cultural traditions to take the next steps of documenting and sharing them.

The organization chose 10 fellows from nine different regions of Texas, and are demographically diverse. But Texas Folklife Program Manager Jeannelle Ramirez says they have one major thing in common: they’re embedded in the communities that they document.

“That’s something that we really prioritized, to make sure that we’re choosing people who are accurately representing their own communities,” Ramirez said.

The fellows are focused on traditions including quiltmaking and mariachi. Over the coming months, Texas Folklife is going to train the fellows to share their expertise.

“We are providing workshops in oral history, interviewing, audio storytelling, podcast production and preparing people to go out into their communities and document traditions and practices that they are usually already part of,” Ramirez said.