The Cork Folklore Project, established as a community-based urban public folklore project in 1996, is singular in Ireland in its nature and longevity. The project incorporates both research and job training and support, and disseminates its work in journal, book, audio/radio, film and online formats, with an emphasis on distribution at no cost to audiences. Since June 2010, we have been carrying out interviews and accessing our archives in order to create an online map of Cork City that will document personal memories, folk narratives, occupational lore, characters and stories associated with different areas of the city. Map users can click on a point to hear people talk about their memories of growing up in the area, stories of events that happened there, or descriptions of the trades and streetscapes of bygone and recent times. Each audio segment is accompanied by an image and a transcript. The map will provide a very different virtual city tour for tourists and newcomers to Cork, and function as a resource for schools, local groups and individuals.
This ongoing project raises many questions regarding ethnographic methodology and dissemination. What ‘new’ audiences may be reached by this mode of dissemination? How can we assess the impact of such a project? How might a project like this serve both community and academic purposes? What are the possibilities and challenges of new technologies for place-making in an urban context?