Folklife fieldwork is the first-hand investigation of people in real life situations as they draw upon generations of shared knowledge and embellish their worlds with creativity. Western Folklife Center produces programs based on original fieldwork and research and grounded in the authentic western experience of diverse groups of people.
When Western Folklife Center staff conduct fieldwork they travel all over the West and use audio recording, video, and photographic equipment to document contemporary western life. They then use these photographs and recordings to create exhibits, films, radio programs, and other events. These materials also become a documentary record that is preserved in the Western Folklife Center Archives. The Western Folklife Center also trains others to do fieldwork in their own communities.