The Lock-In is the podcast about how we live now. Our guest today is Michael Fortune from folklore.ie.

Click on the player below to play the podcast audio (download: 20:09; 12MB; MP3), or scroll down to watch the video.

“There’s a lot of slashes after my name”, Michael says by way of introduction. “It’s like a spider’s web. There’s loads of different skill sets that you bring to our area of work”.

“Going through art college in Limerick I would have worked with film and video, but I’ve always had this sense of place, this sense of who we are, through stories, through song, through the actions, the things we do – it’s always been there. And I suppose that’s always been at the root of what I do – that interest”.

Working in the area of arts and heritage, Michael and his wife Aileen Lambert have discovered that social media brings an additional element to bear on that work: encouraging communities to celebrate their culture, and discover how far it extends.

“For years we would have shown work in galleries and film festivals, that kind of outlet for work, or sometimes you would just produce work literally in the village and no-one else would know about it, only the people you’re working with”.

He began posting on Facebook, videos he had recorded over the years. The response has been very positive, drawing comment and discussion from all over Ireland, and beyond.

“I’ve always said that you could almost do a PhD on some of the comment threads alone”, says Michael.

In recent years Michael and Aileen have promoted the Wexford May Bush Festival. It’s a community-driven festival which invites individuals and communities to participate by simply erecting a May Bush in their village, community, townland or home. With no central event or large gathering, it turns out that it’s the perfect activity for people under lockdown – and especially engaging for children.

Also in this episode:

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