The work of the Cork Folklore Project, like that of many tradition archives, is underpinned with uncertainty with regard to resources. Recently, the most available source of funding allowing us to maintain expertise and develop small digital dissemination projects has been on programmes designed to support public engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
This is not the source of support that would come to mind first, and yet it has recognised value in what we do. 'Catching Stories of Infectious Disease in Ireland' (www.catchingstories.org) presents and explores oral testimony of infectious disease in order to contribute to conversations on public health, vaccination and community experience. 'Circular Tales' engages with mid-to-late-twentieth-century urban dwellers' and Irish Travellers' responses to precarity in the context of current-day discussions of circular economy. Broad-ranging tradition archives and ethnographic projects have interesting material or methods relevant to many STEM public engagement preoccupations.
Is this an opportunity to 'bring forth' the capacity that tradition archives have, to make connections through human experience, in a way that furthers our agenda regarding the revelation of archival richness? What might we be wary of, in a funding sector preoccupied with particular framings of societal challenges, and in a landscape where we may be relegated to providing illustration or sources of colour, rather than as interlocutors with something to say?