SIEF is a society were ethnology and folklore studies meet in distinguishing ways. It recognizes and respects specific traits of diverse disciplinary traditions and tendencies, while at the same time provides them with visibility and gives them support within their national settings. It stretches out in the interdisciplinary field, where it opens up for new insights and for the innovative usage of concepts and research methods. I view SIEF as an arena of openness, multilayeredness and multidisciplinarity. It is a catalyst for research-grounded critical thought and dialogue, much needed in the world in which we live. SIEF serves as a platform for sharing ideas and experiences, for deepening and questioning the notions we have, as well as for creating new approaches. It is attuned with the developments and shifts in the disciplines it stands for. The ever-changing and complex character of phenomena and processes that ethnologists and folklorists study is reflected in the themes of SIEF congresses: Ways of Dwelling (Göttingen, 2017), Utopias, Realities, and Heritages (Zagreb, 2015), Circulation (Tartu, 2013), Ways of Feeling the World (Lisbon, 2011), and so on. SIEF brings together scholars interested in particular fields of study or approaches through the activities of its working groups, which organize panels and workshops at the congresses, schedule their meetings and conferences in the years between congresses, issue publications, etc.
SIEF provides researchers with the opportunity to publish their work in two peer-reviewed international academic journals, global in their scope: Ethnologia Europaea and Cultural Analysis. Furthermore, it gives support to editors of international and national journals in ethnology and folklore. Establishing a network of journal editors and a standing committee that will coordinate the network, in order to discuss prospects and help them overcome obstacles in this sector, is one of the next steps our Society will take.
Building bridges among researchers and institutions in ethnology, folklore and the neighbouring disciplines is SIEF’s main objective. Therefore, SIEF will continue to foster collaboration with its sister associations, the American Folklore Society (AFS) and the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), and will remain a member of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA). Through all these connections and networks we will constantly spread horizons of cooperation, exchange of ideas and information.
At each congress we see more and more young scholars participating in SIEF activities, and that is where one of the core strengths and viability of our Society lie. We will continue to stimulate students and young scholars in taking an active part in congresses and other activities. SIEF is also dedicated to facilitating cooperation in higher education. That is why we visualize departments and programs in our fields on SIEF interactive map and organize departmental meetings in the frame of the congresses, coordinated by members of the standing committee on higher education in ethnology and folklore. Furthermore, potentials and challenges faced by ethnologists and folklorists who work outside of the academia will remain a fruitful ground for our discussions and one of SIEF’s priorities. It is this variety of points of views, diversity of ways in which we apply our knowledge, in which we constantly remake our disciplines, and yet remain distinctive, that makes SIEF great.
Nevena Škrbić Alempijević