Mason’s Folklore Studies and Arts Management programs have been awarded a Curriculum Impact Grant. The grant will support collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage to provide students with project-based learning opportunities in festival management. Mason students will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of festival studies and gain professional experience helping to organize the 2020 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Curriculum Impact Grants support teams of faculty to design innovative, multidisciplinary curricula at either the undergraduate or graduate levels. Faculty teams create scaffolded programs that incorporate experiential learning and build on the strengths of faculty across units.
Lisa Gilman, folklore faculty member, and arts management faculty, Karalee Dawn MacKay and Carole Rosenstein, have designed two new interdisciplinary, cross-listed courses. Folklore Festival Management will be offered for the first time in Spring 2020 at the graduate and undergraduate level through English and arts management. This course is a traditional classroom-based course, where students will learn about the theoretical foundation of folklore festivals and practical skills in festival organizing. The second course, Folklife Festival Experiential Learning, will be offered for the first time in Summer 2020 in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Students will continue to develop their skills by working for the National Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. Students will be assigned to a festival committee and gain real-life work experience in festival production.
Gilman is delighted to offer undergraduate and graduate folklore students the chance to take advantage of Mason’s proximity to Washington D.C. and the professional opportunities it offers. The impact grant will give students work experience with a world-renowned organization and festival, as well as supervision and direction from professors with experience in the field. Gilman said, “The opportunities are there, all we need to do is connect the dots.”