What can I do with an MA in Folklore?

Our graduates follow many different career paths.

Some work as public folklorists, like Millie Rahn, Cultural Consultant and Public Folklorist; Elene J. Freer, Curator, Muskoka Arts and Crafts; Debora Kodish, Pennsylvania Folklore Project; Christina Barr, Program Outreach Coordinator, Western Folklife Center, Nevada.

"I entered the MA program in folklore as a mid-career professional, transitioning from working at a history museum to working as an independent folklorist specializing in public programs ranging from festivals to cultural inventories, media productions, and tourism initiatives in New England and, increasingly, in other parts of the US. Memorial's folklore program was an intellectual treat and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to tailor my elective studies to topics I knew I would pursue when I returned to the States. My degree gives me professional recognition and enables me to serve as project director on grant-funded programs. Today, my work focuses on many aspects of documenting and presenting New England folklife, including music; immigrant communities; occupational, foodways and material culture traditions; and the cultural connections between Newfoundland and Labrador and "the Boston States." Moreover, the opportunity to study in Newfoundland and Labrador is "folklore immersion" and is an ideal context for any folklorist's training."

Millie Rahn
Cultural Consultant/Folklorist
Heritage Partnerships
Watertown, Massachusetts

Others draw on folklore as researchers, or journalists like Ingrid Fraser, Journalist and Producer, CBC Radio, St. John’s, or Georgina Boyes, English writer and broadcaster.

Some, like Hilda Murray, Cliff McGann, Delf Hohmann, Justin Partyka and Dale Jarvis, draw on folklore in their creative work as writers, musicians, photographers and storytellers.

Dale Jarvis, St. John’s Haunted Hike, Tonya Kearley, Dance Up, and Ian MacKinnon, Vice President, Adventus Interactive, use their skills as cultural entrepreneurs.

"I don't think I would have had the same opportunities if I'd gone anywhere else. There's great opportunity for graduates here if they have an entrepreneurial streak."

Dale Jarvis
Provincial registrar for historic buildings
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador Storyteller, author and founder of St. John’s Haunted Hike

Many become cultural educators and administrators for

Heritage Associations like Dale Jarvis, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for Newfoundland and Labrador, and former Provincial Registrar for the Historic Places Initiative, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador; Catherine A. Schwoefferman, Executive Director, Hoyt Foundation; Andrea O’Brien, Municipal Outreach Officer, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Heritage Guide Supervisor, Parks Canada's Discovery Centre in Woody Point, NL.

Museums like Mark Ferguson, Curator of History, The Rooms Provincial Museum, St. John’s; Penelope Houlden, Director of The Rooms Regional Museums, St. John’s; Mary Windsor Lowell, Upstate New York Museum; and Sheldon Posen, Curator, Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Archives like Patricia Fulton, Archivist, Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive; Jodi McDavid, Archivist, Beaton Institute Archives, Cape Breton University; Neachel Keeping, Archives Technician, City of St. John’s Archives; and Gail Weir, Archivist, Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, Memorial University.

"As an Archivist in a large regional archive, my career has a strong public focus. My background in Folklore allows me to balance the academic integrity of running an archive - preserving cultural and historic items - and communicating to the people and community from which it springs, delicately balancing both professional and community needs and expectations.

On any given day I do archival processing, give public presentations, write articles, teach, and communicate ideas in a variety of ways to researchers, the general public, faculty and students. Although Folklore is a unified and directed study, it is interdisciplinary in its application, and this enables me to readily support people and projects in a variety of disciplines.
The resources available at Memorial are legendary: as a graduate student I was fortune to work with world-renowned faculty and to draw on the resources of one of the few Folklore archives in Canada. I think that my degrees in Folklore truly prepared me for the varying responsibilities of my unique career."

Jodi McDavid
Archivist, Beaton Institute
Cape Breton University

Art Galleries
like Heather Read, formerly with the Whitehorse Art Gallery.

"I think the most valuable thing I learned in getting my Master's degree in Folklore is, ironically, not to value things like Master's degrees as much as I used to. Studying folklore at MUN really opened my eyes to the fact that each person on the planet possesses a vast array of knowledge about a myriad of things, most of which I have never even heard of. And, I see now that this knowledge is beautiful and valuable, and important to preserve. Knowledge about how to make a good wooden spoon is just as worthwhile as knowledge of how to prove the most complicated mathematical theorems. And, moreover, I learned that it is important to preserve not only the knowledge itself, but the social structures that allow these non-academized forms of knowledge to continue to develop. My folklore graduate experience at MUN was challenging, rewarding and humbling. Cheesy as it sounds, it's changed how I see the world."

Heather Read

Journals like Marie MacSween, Assistant Editor, Material Culture Review.

Some combine a Masters in folklore with another degree. Graduates have taken PhDs in a variety of disciplines, including Anthropology, English, Folklore, History or Religious Studies, and pursued academic careers. Others work in a variety of fields, for example: James J. Hornby, Attorney, PEI Human Rights Commission; Susan Hart, Archivist, Government Records Section, BC Archives; Jade Alburo, Librarian for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA; Brent Slade, student in Library Science; and school teachers like Kieran Walsh, Tonya Kearley, and Andrea O’Brien.


Department of Folklore

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000