What is Folklife?

Folklife is the expressive arts, practices, and lifeways that emerge from within a community. Folklife that is passed through generations grows into the traditional arts of that community. Traditional arts are often deeply rooted in a geographic location and its religious, ethnic and occupational groups, or they are carried with immigrant and migrant communities as they establish themselves in new homes. Folklife and Traditional Arts are typically taught through one-on-one interaction in a community setting. Folklife is an essential and enduring part of how communities form their identity, learn from their pasts, and decide their futures. Folklife is a living and dynamic experience expressed through art, music, dance, celebration, work, story, dress, sense of place, and belief. No community is without it, and we are all its carriers.

Since 1977, the Folklife program of the N.C. Arts Council has promoted North Carolina folklife and traditional arts through folklife apprenticeships, grants and special projects, statewide initiatives, ongoing documentation of living traditions, and an archive of folklife materials.

Description of program

This three-month internship provides intensive, directed training and experience with the Arts Council's Folklife program and its statewide networks. The intern may also have opportunities to work with the N.C. Arts Council’s Artists and Organizations team and the Communications and Marketing team.

Training experiences are designed to introduce the intern to a range of issues and activities, including planning and implementing public programs, organizing original field research in support of folklife projects, grantsmanship, financial planning and administration, publicity and promotion of public programs, advising local organizations and arts agencies on folklife projects, and fostering interagency relationships at the local, regional, and state levels.
Folklife activities for the summer of 2024 include support for the 2024 Appalachian Folklife Apprenticeships including selection panels, interviews, transcription, documentation, and profiles for social media, support for the nomination and selection process for the North Carolina Heritage Awards, attendance at staff and team meetings, attendance during grant panels and review of grantmaking procedures, participation in site visits to events and organizations, and the optional opportunity to design and undertake independent fieldwork into a region, tradition, or community in North Carolina of specific interest to the intern.

Application dates

  • Due: Application must be received in GO Smart by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 4, 2024.
  • Notification: by April 1, 2024

Stipend amount

  • The intern receives a $6,000 stipend for the three-month period. Interns are responsible for their own travel and living arrangements during the program, but may travel with Folklife staff to site visits on occasion.

Who may apply?

  • Graduate students with at least one year of study in folklife or related field (ethnomusicology, anthropology, history, American Studies, or other arts and cultural fields)
  • Undergraduates entering or completing their senior year with equivalent experience with traditional arts and culture or a strong background in community-based cultural experience.
  • Non-students with a strong background in traditional arts or community-based cultural experience in North Carolina, who are pursuing a career in folklife, arts administration, or other fields of cultural work.

Internship period

The internship takes place for a total of twelve weeks that may be completed between May and September  2024. The N.C. Arts Council staff work on a hybrid schedule out of the office in downtown Raleigh, N.C. The Folklife Intern will be expected to work from the Raleigh office at least two days per week but may work remotely all other days. 

Evaluation criteria for Intern selection

Interns will be chosen based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Interest in professional public-sector arts and cultural programming and administration as a possible career choice
  • Familiarity and relationships with one or more of North Carolina’s cultural communities or expressive traditions
  • Demonstrated organizational and research skills
  • Writing samples
  • Demonstrated experience with cultural documentation (e.g.: interviewing, transcription, photo, video, social media)
  • Commitment to working in the field of arts administration or public folklore in North Carolina

Application information

Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal. Follow the link to create an individual profile, and select “Folklife and Arts Administration Internship 2023” under the Current Programs and Applications tab. For assistance accessing and navigating GO Smart, contact Folklife Director Zoe van Buren at zoe.vanburen@dncr.nc.gov or (919) 814-6518.

The internship application consists of the following requirements:

Application Narrative

  1. Describe any formal education experience Please include school, years, degrees, majors, special study, and/or training and folklife research projects.
  2. Describe your current and previous employment. Please include special projects, publications, field experience, or work-related activities in folklife.
  3. Describe any specific places, traditions, or cultural communities of North Carolina with which you are familiar or would like to pursue work in.
  4. Describe your community work experience. Please include volunteer work, clubs, organizations, or other special activities.
  5. Describe your career goals and how the internship program will serve them.
  6. What specific training and experiences in public-sector arts and cultural programming or administration do you most desire?


Please provide three references, and include name, address, daytime phone number, and relationship to you.

Samples of Work

Include samples of your work in cultural research or public presentation. Be sure to adequately describe the subject matter. Label all materials with your name as it appears on the application. 

  • Required: Writing Sample. Submit up to 25 pages of a research paper, public presentation, or publication, preferably based on original field research.
  • Suggested: One or more of the following
  1. Photography: submit a selection of up to 15 images or provide links to internet access or file sharing.
    •  Maximum image size 1000x1000 px
    •  Accepted file types: .txt .pdf .doc .docx .xls .xlsx .jpeg .png
  2. Video Recordings: Provide links to internet access or file sharing using the Web Link Collection Form in the application.
  3. Social Media content: Send links to any Facebook, Instagram or professional social media that you have created to support of an artist, event, or documentary project.
    •  Maximum PDF/doc size 10MB.
    •  Accepted file types: .txt .pdf .doc .docx .xls .xlsx .jpeg .png
  4. Interview transcriptions: Submit a sample of an interview you have conducted and transcribed, preferably with a folklife-related interviewee. 
    •  Maximum PDF/doc size 10MB.
    ​•  Accepted file types: .txt .pdf .doc .docx .xls .xlsx .jpeg .png
  5. Audio Recordings, please use the Web Link Collection Form to provide a file sharing link, or upload the file directly on the next page of the application.

Staff contact

Zoe van Buren
Folklife Director
(919) 814-6518

Grant Application Assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information. 


For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court at jamie.katzcourt@dncr.nc.gov or (919) 814-6502.