Under the direction of Dr. Gerald L. Pocius, the Folklore 6020 field school will introduce beginning graduate students in Memorial University’s folklore program to ethnographic documentation methods related to landscape, buildings, narratives, and place. The school will focus on Witless Bay, an historic fishing community located approximately 35 km south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.


Twenty years ago, a moratorium on cod fishing was imposed throughout the province, resulting in a massive upheaval of daily life in rural communities. Increasingly, outmigration, coupled with a gentrification of coastal communities such as Witless Bay, has altered traditional cultural landscapes. Witless Bay has gone from a small fishing community to a commuter suburb of St. John’s, but much of the traditional landscape remains.

This course will document evolving village spaces, focusing on buildings and landscapes, and how they have been imagined and used over recent generations. Working with long-time residents, students will learn how to conduct interviews, record buildings, and describe Witless Bay, past and present.

The Witless Bay Field School is a project undertaken jointly by the Department of Folklore at Memorial University and the Witless Bay Heritage Committee.

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