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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

About this Collection

The Occupational Folklife Project (OFP) began in 2010 as a multi-year project by the American Folklife Center (AFC) to document the culture of contemporary American workers during an era of economic and social transition. To date, fieldworkers across the United States have recorded more than 900 audio and audiovisual oral history interviews with workers in scores of trades, industries, crafts, and professions. The completed interviews have been incorporated into the American Folklife Center archive at the Library of Congress.

The interviews, which average 50-60 minutes in length, feature workers discussing their current jobs and formative work experiences, reflecting on their training, on-the-job challenges and rewards, aspirations, and occupational communities.  In many cases, interviewees were asked to trace the career choices and educational paths that lead them to their present jobs and share their thoughts on the future of their professions.

The Occupational Folklife Project includes field documentation on selected topics created by dozens of researchers or research teams throughout the United States. To honor the memory of folklorist Archie Green (1917-2009), the Archie Green Fellowship program was established at the American Folklife Center in 2010.  These fellowships have supported the fieldwork and preliminary processing of most of these Occupational Folklife Project collections. Awards were made with the understanding that the resulting documentation would be deposited in the AFC archive and made available to the public. Priority for recipients of Archie Green Fellowships has been given to fieldworkers documenting professions underrepresented in the AFC archive. See our website for more information about the Archie Green Fellowships. For information about the Occupational Folklife Project collections not yet online please contact the Folklife Reading Room.

The following collections are currently online:

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