Saturday, February 13, 2016

Heritage, Radio, and Building Community Voice - #WorldRadioDay #podcast

Join us as we celebrate UNESCO's World Radio Day, Feb 13th - a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression, and gender equality over the airwaves.

In this special World Radio Day podcast, we are talking about Heritage, Radio, and Building Community Voice, with Joan Cranston and Anita Best.

Joan Cranston is a physiotherapist who operates her clinic out of the old Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital in Norris Point. She is also the (volunteer) coordinator for the Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Heritage Corporation, and has served on many community development boards. Anita Best is a renowned Newfoundland folk singer, storyteller, and broadcaster. Anita has received several honours for her work in collecting and disseminating Newfoundland folksongs, including the Marius Barbeau award from the Folklore Studies Association of Canada and an Honourary Doctorate from Memorial University, and is the program director for Voice of Bonne Bay Radio. In this episode, they talk with Dale Jarvis about the work of the Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Heritage Corporation, a not-for-profit community corporation which is adaptively re-using the old cottage hospital as a community center, operating on a social enterprise model.

Download the MP3

Friday, February 12, 2016

(Another) little introduction:

Hello, folks! My name is Meghan Mills and I will be joining Stephanie and Dale here at the ICH office for the next seven weeks. Pleased to "meet" you! 

Over the next few weeks I'll be working with Dale on a pretty exciting project. It's exciting to me because it will give me the chance to talk to you (yes, you!) about what intangible cultural heritage in your community looks like and what it may look like in the future. Interest peaked? We're launching the project on February 17th right here so be sure to check-in!

In the meantime if you have any questions you may reach me at

Take-care and happy weekend,


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Counting crows, and poem from Tilting, Fogo Island. #FolkloreThursday

On Monday last, I gave a guest lecture on intangible cultural heritage for Scott Neilsen's Cultural Resource Management (CRM) course at Memorial University. I talked to the class about the five domains of ICH as defined by UNESCO, and gave examples from a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective.

While talking about oral traditions and expressions, I challenged them with a couple traditional riddles, and then two students spoke up with rhymes that they had learned when younger.

First up was Rebekah Nolan, who had a fantastic version of a counting crows rhyme which I'd not heard before. I've written about crow counting rhymes before, but Rebecca's version was new to me. She learned it in San Luis Obispo ("America's happiest city" apparently) circa 2003:

One for sadness
Two for mirth
Three for marriage
Four for birth
Five for laughing
Six for crying
Seven for sickness
Eight for dying
Nine for silver
Ten for gold
Eleven for a secret that will never be told
Twelve for darkness
Thirteen for light
Fifteen for morning
Sixteen for night.

The second was from Jackie Tizzard, who had a rhyme she learned from her mother, who was a Burke from Tilting, Fogo Island.  "She could never tell me where it came from," Jackie told me. This was her rhyme:

"Long has been my cherished hope,
Upon my dying day,
To lie upon some sunny slope
And dream my life away."

Jackie thought it might be a riddle, but didn't know the answer. 

The rhyme is not a riddle at all, and neither does it originate on Fogo Island. It is, rather, a quote from a book, The red cow and her friends, by Peter McArthur, published in 1919, in Toronto, Ontario, by J.M. Dent & Sons. It is a fascinating book on farm life, with stories on sick cows, feeding pigs, racoon hunts, and horse contrariness. How a line of it came to be memorized by a young Miss Burke in Tilting is anyone's guess.

The full quote is as follows:

Although the oak is my particular friend among the trees on the farm, there are others with which I can claim at least an acquaintanceship. There is a maple at the edge of the wood-lot that always makes me feel uncomfortable, because I have a feeling that it has a joke on me. It stands on what would be called rising ground " which means an elevation that does not deserve to be called a hill " and while lying on the grass in its shade I can see over several farms to the south and east. It used to be a favourite of my boyhood, and once I composed a poem while lying in its shade. If you bear in mind the fact that I was seventeen years of age at the time you will understand why the tree has a joke on me. Here is the only stanza I can remember of the little poem I composed to express the "unmannerly sadness" of youth.

It long has been my cherished hope Upon my dying day To lie down on some sunny slope And dream my life away.

At that age I could not have cherished the hope so very long, and the old tree must have chuckled to its last twig at my absurdity. Anyway, I never see the tree without recalling that wretched stanza, and I immediately hurry away to some other part of the woods.

Got a piece of folk poetry stuck in your head, or a counting crow rhyme of your own? Leave a comment below, or send me an email at

- Dale Jarvis

Safeguarding Traditional Stepdance, with Kristin Harris Walsh. #livingheritage #podcast #folklorethursday

Kristin Harris Walsh is a dancer and dance scholar based in St. John's. She holds a PhD in Folklore from Memorial University and a Master’s in Dance from York University and currently is working on a SSHRC funded research project on percussive dance in Newfoundland and Ireland. Kristin has been step dancing for 15 years and has trained and performed in Newfoundland and Ireland. She is Past President of DanceNL, the province’s sectoral dance association, and is the President of the Society for Canadian Dance Studies. In this interview, we talk about step dancing, percussive dance, and the challenges and opportunities for safeguarding traditional dancing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Recorded on 4 August 2015.

Photo of Kristin dancing by Meghan Forsyth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)? A quick definition.

I had a question this morning from a colleague who asked, essentially, what is ICH? It is a complex answer, but sometimes people want a quick summary. So, based on the UNESCO 2003 Convention and our own work at the Heritage Foundation of NL, here is our working definition:
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. It is sometimes called living cultural heritage, is transmitted from generation to generation, and is constantly recreated by communities and groups, in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history.

ICH is manifested in the following five domains:
- Oral traditions and expressions, including language;
- Performing arts;
- Social practices, rituals and festive events;
- Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and,
- Traditional craft.

ICH can include the stories we tell, the family events we celebrate, our community gatherings, the languages we speak, the songs we sing, knowledge of our natural spaces, our healing traditions, the foods we eat, our holidays, beliefs and cultural practices.
If you are looking for a more detailed discussion of what intangible cultural heritage is, download our free  "What is ICH?" booklet for Newfoundland and Labrador, or UNESCO's own Intangible Cultural Heritage page

Photo: Participants of the December 18, 2010 Mummers Festival, by Mark Bennett.
Courtesy Memorial University's Digital Archive Initiative. 

- Dale Jarvis

The Memory Store: All the soil is a very rich soil from Europe or the West Indies...

This week’s Memory Store video is filmed in Captain Blackmore’s Heritage Manor in Port Union, NL. Gary Blackmore, owner and operator of the manor, discusses why the soil surrounding Captain Blackmore’s Heritage Manor in Port Union, NL is so rich and fertile.

Watch the video below or click here to watch the video on YouTube.
If you missed our initial post explaining the concept of the Memory Store clip here to go back to our first blog post with the introduction video or check out our YouTube channel at ICH NL.

Stay tuned for more short stories about historic places in the province, in the form of short oral history interviews conducted with the people who care about those places and if you have a personal memory about a historic place in Newfoundland and Labrador, and want to add your voice to the Memory Store project, let us know at


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Buttons!

Today's photo is of the lovely buttons we ordered for the Grey Sock Project! Next week, February 16th, is the traditional darning workshop we are offering for FREE at the A.C. Hunter Children's Library with instructor Christine LeGrow. We will be giving these buttons to everyone who comes!

Didn't know about the workshop?
Eventbrite - Darn Those Socks!

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Old Hag - The Terror In The Night! #LivingHeritage #Podcast #FolkloreThursday

Lloyd Pike is a retired teacher whose 32 year teaching career began on remote Pass Island, located off the Connaigre Peninsula on Newfoundland's Southwest coast. On one particular dark night Lloyd experienced a disturbing encounter with the "old hag." Danielle Barron was born and raised in St. John’s, is an avid reader and has had multiple experiences over the past seven or eight years with the old hag. We discuss sleep paralysis and the old hag, Lloyd and Danielle’s experiences with Herself, fortune telling, reading tea leaves, mediums, and other superstitions and folk beliefs.

Listen in to this week's Living Heritage Podcast, if you dare!

Download the MP3

Photo: Old Hag doll by Designs by Janet, available at The Rooms gift shop.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Today in ICH - Grey Socks, Anna Templeton, Youth Heritage, and more!

In this edition of the ICH Update, we look at what's happening with, provide some historical background on Miss Anna Templeton - a pioneer in the craft sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, give you a tease of what is to come with the 2016 Youth Heritage Forum, and provide an update on our current intangible cultural programming.

Contributions from Stephanie Micikyan and Dale Jarvis.

Download the pdf here.

Photo: Miss Anna Templeton