28 Dec 2015

Amateur art activities and folklore. Socio-cultural engineering and practice

01 February, 2013 – 01 February, 2016

Prof. Goritza Naydenova, PhD

The topic of the structure of amateur art activities is a wide-ranging one, allowing for various research approaches and impossible to be exhausted within a three-year individual project: it could be even extended into a collective project including a team of experts from various departments. As the study is supposed to be only the first stage, I put the following restrictions on my work:
First, concerning the scope of the explored object: I’d focus my attention mainly on that part of the system, which is related one way or another to folklore, either already arranged or from sources, not only due to my particular speciality but also because it is in this field that the complex relation between actors, doers (organisers, managers of companies and common amateurs) and researchers, participating one way or another in culture-building interventions comes to the fore. Such interventions are especially strong and influencing directly both the functioning of elements of the traditional heritage in this aspect of Bulgarian modernity and the mass idea of what ‘folklore’ is. Even here alone, there are many lines of exploration, for example: what are the power mechanisms on various levels; what the response from ‘below” has been as regards the ideological and propaganda pressure from ‘above’ (such a response is the fairs of wedding bands held in Stambolovo); what aesthetical hierarchies are being formed between the participants themselves within the system; what are the repertoire lines (given the conventions of the phrase in this particular case) and whom they are set by; how these correlate with professional companies of the same activities; what the real, spontaneously arising folklore of these ‘folk artistes’ is, etc.
This fist stage of the survey would cover the period between 1972 and 1990/91, or the days, when the Centre of Amateur Art Activities existed as a successor to the Creative and Methodical Institute for Amateur Art Activities (1968–1972), which in 1952–1968 was a Central House of Popular Creativity. The Centre, of course, was also a successor to a number of models and ideological strategies of the earlier institutions, which would be taken into consideration. Still, I believe that the most relevant and even pressing at this moment is to cover the most recent period, mostly due to my intention to ‘anthropologise’ this topic overpopulated with people.