Digital Folk Conference

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The University of Sheffield, Humanities Research Institute

34 Gell Street

Sheffield

S3 7QY

United Kingdom

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This one-day conference at the University of Sheffield will explore the practices, cohesions or frictions that can arise when folk and traditional arts come into contact with digital technologies.

Every day, folk songs are shared on websites; dancers are recruited and organised on social media; storytelling communities congregate around online discussion boards; and cultural organisations court public engagement with internet archives. Digitally mediated actions and interactions are a ubiquitous part of everyday life for folk artists and participants, but the impacts of these behaviours on tradition—as content and/or concept—remain relatively unexplored.

As experiences and assertions of place and ethnicity are problematised by the ongoing impacts of globalisation, concepts of “tradition” take on new meanings, new significances and—for many—new appeal. Folk arts of various sorts have experienced a significant growth in profile and cultural currency over recent years. Digital technologies—regularly cited as key enablers of cultural globalisation—are simultaneously complicit in supporting the resurgence and maintenance of local traditions, as well as facilitating the development of new, transnational communities and activities.

Themes for discussion include (but are not limited to):

  • the artistic and cultural impacts of digital tools, resources and networks
  • the roles played by contemporary digital technologies, materials and social networks in the participatory and performative activities of folk/traditional musicians and dancers
  • the discourses related to the employment, distribution and/or rejection of digital resources in traditional contexts
  • the relationships between particular traditional cultures/activities and specific media/technologies
  • the interaction of corporate or institutional digital technologies or materials, with vernacular digital practices and ‘user-generated’ media.

We look forward to welcoming you in April!

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The University of Sheffield, Humanities Research Institute

34 Gell Street

Sheffield

S3 7QY

United Kingdom

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