Call for Principal Investigators in Folklore, Ethnography and related fields
The Partnership for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Folklore (PREEEF) is a California-based, nonprofit organization. The purpose of this organization is to maintain and promote an American understanding of the traditional culture and way of life in Belarus, the Caucasus, the Baltics, Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. The organization PREEEF sponsors a wide variety of projects: research, recording of folklore, the collection of ethnographic data, filmmaking, and the archiving and analysis of folklore and oral history. We support educational and cultural presentations on the topic of folklore and ethnography in universities, conferences, and festivals.
We also invite scholars of folklore, ethnography and related fields to work with us to include selected volunteers in their field research teams. The volunteers assist with basic tasks — filming, photography, sound recording– and pay fees which help to support the team as a whole.
The program, as described below, is open to qualified scholars working in any of our target countries with the exception of the Russian Federation. We are currently revising our program protocols to comply with recent changes in RF regulations governing international scientific collaboration. Please contact us for details.
PREEEF works to connect volunteers with scholars who need assistance in carrying out fieldwork. The volunteers gain access to people, experiences and cultures they might not otherwise meet, and the scholars gain willing hands to help with basic tasks, plus financial support for their fieldwork expeditions.
Group leaders themselves determine the number of potential volunteers based on the project’s goals. The expedition’s budget consists of private expedition fees paid by volunteers for their participation. The budget covers living expenses, food, and transportation for all expedition participants (leader, staff, volunteers), and also includes purchased equipment.
Volunteers from different countries participate in these expeditions for several reasons: undergraduates and graduate students may want to improve their knowledge of the country’s language, some want to see the “real life” of “real people” of the country, and others believe that the preservation of people’s traditions makes a significant contribution to the protection of a general world culture. Volunteers typically realize that they are not tourists, but instead are working as full-fledged members of the expedition. They are not on vacation or a guided excursion. Respectively, volunteers reside, travel, and eat together with leaders and other participants of the expedition.
Volunteers do not have to be proficient in the country’s language. They typically perform tasks such as operating sound and video equipment, photography and videography, scanning materials from performers’ home archives, making sketches, and helping translate folklore texts into English if this is one of the expedition’s tasks.
The average length of an expedition is 10-12 days. The journey begins and ends either in the capital or in another regional city.
Duties of expedition leaders include:
- Preparing a detailed written justification of the necessity of volunteers as participants in the expedition. This explanation must contain an answer to the question, “why does this field research require foreign volunteers?” (with examples of concrete tasks that the volunteers will be carrying out during the expedition).
- Creating a briefing that describes a) the scientific goals of the expedition, b) the folklore tradition that the expedition participants will be working with, 6) the locality where the expedition will occur, d) living conditions, e) transportation, f) food, including who will be responsible for the preparation of meals, and the research site’s distance from the nearest hospital, g) the meeting time and location for volunteers, and the time and place of the end of the expedition. A sample of the briefing can be sent out upon request.
- Providing a translator because all volunteers need to understand what is happening.
- Providing volunteers with specific work that is relevant to the given expedition’s research.
- Regularly discussing the results of the expedition’s work, explaining the goals and tasks for gathering the folklore, answering volunteer’s questions regarding location traditions, the country’s culture, history, etc.
Expedition leaders should:
- Provide a plan of the expedition research (we can provide a sample) and a planned budget (according to the proposed sample) no less than nine months before the beginning of the expedition. All documents may be in English or Russian, except for the expedition leader’s curriculum vitae and project resume, which need to be provided in English.
- Keep a record of all expedition expenses during the trip
- Provide a summary of how the collected funds were spent (because the expedition budget consists of fees from the volunteers themselves).
- Provide the required documentation to confirm the legality of the expedition research being conducted in conjunction with foreign participants.
- Submit electronic copies of collected materials for PREEEF’s archive.
To implement the expedition projects, PREEEF provides:
- Advertising through our organization’s website, social media, and mailing lists, with the goal of effective recruitment of volunteers who will be able to ensure the financial support of the expedition with their participation.
- Consultation of volunteers regarding their participation in folklore expeditions
- Visa consultation for foreign participants.
- The organization expedition financing according to the following scheme: the inclusion of the expedition into the PREEEF program and an advertising campaign for recruiting volunteers. Volunteers who have signed up to participate in the expedition pay an expedition fee, and the collected funds are transferred to an account provided by the group leader.
Expedition leaders themselves set the budget and allocate all counts of possible expenses. The budget must be allocated as follows: 62% intended for covering expedition expenses (transport, food, housing, etc.), 10% for the acquisition of equipment necessary for the expedition, and 28% remains in PREEEF’s fund for further development. Expedition fees can vary from $1500 to $3000. Salaries for the group leader and expedition participants are not included in the budget except for honorariums for translators, drivers, and other personnel hired by the group leader to serve the expedition.
We look forward to working with you!