Folklife Internship

Applications must be received by email or in our office by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021.
The internship takes place for twelve weeks between May and September, 2021. Candidates will be notified of decisions by March 15, 2021.

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.

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.

Description of Program

This three-month internship provides intensive, directed training and experience with the Arts Council's Folklife program. The intern will also work closely with the N.C. Arts Council’s Arts and Organizations team and the Communications and Marketing team. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the internship is held virtually and no travel will be required.

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. Please be aware that in response to COVID-19, some regular N.C. Arts Council programs have been postponed or modified in 2021.

Folklife projects for the summer of 2021 include support for the 2021 Appalachian Folklife Apprenticeships including the selection panel, interviews, transcription, documentation, and profiles for social media, support for virtual events and programs in collaboration with the communications and marketing team, support for arts roundtables and grantmaking outreach to arts organizations, participation in DEAI and strategic planning research, and the opportunity for independent virtual fieldwork into a region, tradition, or community in North Carolina of specific interest to the intern.

The intern receives a $5,000 stipend for the three-month period. All work will be fully remote and interns are responsible for their own living arrangements during the program. No travel is required, but interns are responsible for their own transportation if any travel occurs.

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, photo, video, social media)
  • Commitment to working in the field of arts administration or public folklore in North Carolina

How to Apply

Download Application Form

Provide answers to all questions on the Internship application form. Be sure to indicate that you are applying for the Folklife Internship. The application form can be returned by email with other application materials to: Zoe van Buren:

Application Narrative
In addition to the application form, please attach an application narrative which addresses the evaluation criteria and includes the information requested below. Your responses should be numbered to correspond to the information requested.

  1. Formal education (include school, years, degrees, majors, special study, and/or training and folklife research projects)
  2. Current and previous employment (include special projects, publications, field experience, or work-related activities in folklife)
  3. Specific places, traditions, or cultural communities of North Carolina with which you are familiar or would like to become more familiar
  4. Community work experience (include volunteer work, clubs, organizations, or other special activities)
  5. Goals (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 list 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. For non-print materials submitted, be sure to adequately describe the subject matter. Label all materials with your name as it appears on the application form. Please do not send your only copies as the work samples will not be returned to you.

  • 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
    • Photography
      Submit a selection of up to 20 images on a CD or DVD or provide links to internet access or file sharing.
    • Audio Recordings
      Submit a standard CD with noted selections not more than 15 minutes in duration or provide links to internet access or file sharing.
    • Video Recordings
      Submit a DVD that will play on a PC or provide links to internet access or file sharing.
    • Social Media campaign
      Send links to any Facebook, Instagram or professional social media that you have created to support an artist, event, or documentary project.
    • Interview Transcriptions
      Submit a sample of an interview you have conducted and transcribed, preferably with a folklife-related interviewee.

Assembling Application Packet
Assemble your application package in the following order:

  • Cover Letter
  • Application Form
  • Application Narrative
  • Résumé
  • Work Sample(s)

You can email your entire packet to

If sending through US Postal Service, please utilize:
N.C. Arts Council
Attn: Zoe van Buren, Folklife Director​
4632 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4600

If sending through FedEx or UPS or for hand delivery, please utilize:
N.C. Arts Council
Attn: Zoe van Buren, Folklife Director
109 E Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

For more information, contact:
Zoe van Buren
Folklife Director
(646) 247-4394