Sunday, December 18, 2016

'Carterhaugh School of Folklore & the Fantastic' Brings Us The Best Gift Ever: Fairy Tales!

We bring wonderful news for the end of 2016, finally!

There is a new online school in the town of the interwebs which is entirely dedicated to folklore, fairy tales and the fantastic, AND their first long course is: 'The Fairy Tale'

It's not your average 'introduction to fairy tales course' that you often see squished in somewhere to fill out a schedule either - you know, the sort of course where the big draw is "these fairy tales are darker than you thought.." or "forget Disney - did you know Red Riding Hood was sometimes eaten?". This course, refreshingly, recognizes you already know most of this stuff and that you're ready to explore far beyond these teasers. This is bona fide, scholarly study, that's specifically been made accessible (Einstein would be proud), with guidance from well qualified academics who adore fairy tales and folklore, love teaching it and love sharing their enthusiasm for it.

You can now join folk from around the world as you dive into a deeper exploration of fairy tales in a way you normally would have to attend a university setting for, yet without the intimidating structure and forms that can overwhelm even those who've survived a round a college.

Welcome to The Carterhaugh School of Folklore & the Fantastic!
Here's a taste of the introduction for The Fairy Tale:

Once upon a time… 
A girl in red walked into the woods with a basket for her grandmother. There, she wandered from the path, talked to a strange wolf, was eaten, was saved. 
Or, once upon a time… 
The girl, who did not wear red, went into the woods. She met a werewolf, chose the Road of Needles instead of the Road of Pins. She performed a strip-tease for the wolf, tricked him, and ran back home, and slammed the door behind her. 
Or, once upon a time… 
A girl, once more in red, walked into the woods. She wandered, talked, was eaten. She was not saved, and she remained in the wolf’s belly.
In this ten lesson course, “The Fairy Tale,” we welcome you across the threshold of Carterhaugh to explore a collection of wonder tales from around the world- stories you may know, stories you may think you know, stories that are strange and unfamiliar. Through a combination of lectures, supplemental readings, and creative responses, we will introduce you to the wide world of fairy-tale scholarship and provide the history, context, and tools to begin analyzing these stories.
This is perhaps the best gift you'd be able to give a fairy tale enthusiast, and, as a bonus, you can give it last minute (without battling crowds) or fussing with wrapping!

Qualified scholars and lecturers Brittany Warman and Sara Cleto are both PhD candidates in English and Folklore who, through their shared love of the subject and of teaching, dreamed up the idea of an online school where anyone - no matter their location in the world, or the many other limits that stop those passionate about fairy tales from pursuing study in such subjects with scholarly guidance - could attend.

That means all of us qualify to attend folks!

On top of that you could say fairy tales are kind of these ladies' "thing" (ie their true passion), so you know it's going to be special.

By the way, does the name Carterhaugh sound familiar? It should!

Over the next few days, we will be sharing a special behind-the-scenes interview with the founders of Carterhaugh, to give you a look at how such a wonderful thing came to be and what is so very enchanting about the way this school, and the fairy tale long course, in particular.

Oh yes - and you'll also learn why the name 'Carterhaugh' was chosen. ;)

Without further ado may I present the fairy godmothers of Carterhaugh School, mistresses Brittany Warman and Sara Cleto:

Ladies, thank you for so graciously agreeing to join us here at Once Upon A Blog, to share why this school is so different and how enchanting, unique and exciting this course will be.

The age of worldwide wireless wizardry, aka, the internet has opened so many opportunities for sharing knowledge, for enabling collaboration and allowing magically prompt feedback. It's wonderful to see that being put to use for folk who cannot access - or afford - more conventional fairy tale and folklore studies and scholarship!

What inspired the idea of this school , how many glass mountains did you climb and what did the two of end up throwing into your combined cauldron to make this a reality?
The origins of Carterhaugh lie, unglamorously but appropriately, in jetlag and a truly ridiculous conversation that took place between about midnight and 3am the night before we attended a conference on Folklore and the Gothic in the UK last spring (2016). We were desperately trying to sleep, and instead we ended up talking about the kinds of classes we would most love to teach and lamenting the fact that people who might really enjoy those classes wouldn’t have access to them if we taught them in a university setting. We don’t remember who thought of it first, but at some point during that conversation, we lifted the glamor of “this-is-how-we’ve-always-taught-and-so-it-must-always-be” and imagined a door to Carterhaugh, a place where we could teach beyond the limits of a traditional classroom. We had already co-taught and lectured several times, and while we both enjoy teaching our solo classes at OSU, we know that we can create a dynamic, engaging conversation when we work together. That synergy has driven the project forward, from designing syllabi to creating promotional materials to reaching out to our community of magical friends and beyond.

The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic holds a name likely familiar to regular readers here: Carterhaugh. What is it that prompted you to choose this name for your new online school and courses (other than a gentle but firm reminder to Faerie Queens that they're being watched)?
We actually struggled quite a bit with the name! We wanted something that was evocative of Faery but that also sounded professional, like a real school. We went through several ideas before landing on the final name, but we think it fits perfectly. We like to imagine the forbidden grounds of Carterhaugh as the secret, liminal space on which we have constructed a school somewhere between reality and imagination.

What are both your backgrounds of personal -o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶- interest and -̶s̶p̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶c̶a̶s̶t̶i̶n̶g̶-̶ study that have culminated in this school?
We have both loved folk and fairy tales pretty much since we can first remember - we were both voracious readers (and school nerds?) when younger and, through various winding roads and tangled forests, both managed to discover that one could actually study our favorite stories professionally in an academic setting (!) We first met in an MA program in Folklore at George Mason University and quickly became known as the “fairy-tale girls” there. We were an instant matched set, always excited by our work and driven by our passion for these stories. We constantly found ways to collaborate and work together. We thought we would probably have to go on to different programs after we finished at GMU, since we were so similar in our interests, but an unexpected turn of events (one that we’re certain the fairies had something to do with!), allowed us to both be accepted into the Folklore program at The Ohio State University as well! We are currently PhD candidates there, both focusing on folklore and nineteenth-century literature - Sara is working on her dissertation about fairy tales and disability, Brittany’s is on fairy tales, fairy legends, and the Gothic aesthetic. We continue to do all kinds of things together too, from articles to poetry to presentations. And now, of course, our school!

Do you have any affiliations or partnerships with other institutions, businesses or fairy folk?
Yes! We are alumni of the George Mason University Folklore MA program, and we are currently employed by the Ohio State University, where we teach classes on folklore, fairy tales, and literature as we complete our dissertations. We are also affiliated with fellow fairy fiends all over the country. We met colleagues when we interned at the Library of Congress who first demonstrated to us how to educate and revel outside of the box. Many of our fae colleagues are friends that we met online, and little communities have grown as a result- for example, with our dear friend Grace Nuth, we run a Facebook group called Daily Fae-shion and its 700+ members share and discuss fae-inspired fashion and daily wear. We also co-run, with the fantastic Derek Newman-Stille, the website Through the Twisted Woods, a hub for folk narrative dedicated to both representing and disrupting fairy tales, folktales, myths, legends, and fables by focusing on tales and retellings that live on the fringes of the enchanted woods, the tales that are underrepresented and that push beyond what we think of as the traditional.

So who can participate? (Are house elves allowed?) Is this US-specific? Are magic carpets required at any point? What about those who live 'between?
Pretty much anyone can participate! That’s one of the best parts about having the school online - everyone can play and no magic carpets are required to get to classes! We’re open to anyone (house elves included!) regardless of country. We welcome all ages and levels of education- while our classes are geared towards an adult audience, we had an absolutely wonderful twelve-year-old student and his mother participate in our short Halloween course as part of their homeschooling curriculum, and they were fantastic! Part of our mission is to reach students who, for whatever reason (monetary or accessibility or illness), could not take a class like this through traditional college classes.

What are you hoping folk will take away from the course/s? (Other than reasons to leave - or not leave - a bowl of milk outside at night?)

Keys. Wonder. Unspolied Milk. A Spell or Two. Reignited Passion. Old Stories. New Stories. Buttons.

Part II of our interview continues tomorrow! 

Tune in to learn about some juicy specifics of The Fairy Tale course beginning in January.

In the meantime, you can read the general introduction to the course HERE and sign up - or send a gift - HERE (scroll down the page to see the payment options).

Here's the sign-up detail summary:
Dates: January 16th, 19th, 23rd, 26th, 30th, February 2nd, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th – note that these are simply the dates that materials will be posted! You will be able to access everything indefinitely and watch whenever is most convenient to you. 
Total Number of Lessons: 10 
What’s Included: Welcome Letter, Mailed Special Welcome Package, 10 Video Lectures, 10 PowerPoint Presentations, 10 Beautiful PDF “Grimoire Page” Lesson Summaries, PDFs or Links to Any Supplementary Reading, Personal Feedback on Completed Final Assignment if Desired 
Any Additional Materials Needed: No 
Registration Closes: January 15th at Midnight 
Price: $150 – you can pay in one, two, or three installments! Full payment must be complete by the time registration closes on January 15th.
By the way, do you love - or do you LOVE - the design below like we do? If you want to give something extra to the lucky giftee receiving the registration for the course, that they can hold in their lucky little hands, this is now available as a t-shirt or tote bag! You can find the info on that HERE.
Note: All illustrations in this post, barring the Carterhaugh School logo by Rachel Oakes, are either by Edmund Dulac or Arthur Rackham. But you probably already knew that. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great way to renew my studies of literature. It's been a long time since my B.A back in '65.