Folk and Folks: Variations on the Vernacular

The “term” folk is laden with connotations created by varying fields of inquiry that compete to define the term and limit its use to their own narrow needs. Outright contention has characterized the debate among art historians and anthropologists about “folk” art. The latter designate it as a very limited thread of conforming actions taken on scarcely changing notions of tradition passed through generations. On the other hand, art historians use the term to celebrate untutored individualism. These broadly differing uses demonstrate the term’s utility to capture the complexity of “folks”—the people underlying the concept of “folk” as an adjective.

The Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts embraces this term and its rich variations of meaning as an approach to understanding broad swaths of regional material culture. Hence the title of the eighth Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts: Folk and Folks: Variations on Vernacular. This title attempts to interweave the relationships of language and object and suggest how terminology can affect our view of objects.

The symposium will cover topics as diverse as Georgia stoneware flower vessels; Catawba pottery; English pottery influences in North Georgia; South Carolina fraktur; painted Georgia furniture; Moravian influence in Georgia; silver with military connotations; the story of a southern needlework object whose maker had South African and Virginia associations; a group of Georgia sisters who pursued a 19th-century style of living into modern times; a group of inlaid Georgia chests of drawers; John Abbot, Georgia naturalist; early Athens portraiture; and the depiction of early southern folk craft in the photography of Doris Ulmann. Robert M. Hicklin Jr. will deliver the keynote speech, “The Story of Southern, in Pictures.” Hicklin will describe the excitement and headiness of the marketplace in the 1980s and 1990s, when he participated in the discovery of many icons of southern art and craft.

Thursday, February 4, 2016 to Saturday, February 6, 2016
UGA Hotel and Conference Center
1197 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602
United States

Full Symposium Package - $285
(Includes breaks, lunches and all evening events)

Lectures Only - $85
(includes breaks – no lunches or evening events included)

Student Registration* - No charge
(includes breaks – no lunches or evening events included)
*You will need to present a valid student ID at registration.

Event Cancellation Policies: (1) A cancellation received by 6:00 p.m. ET on or before January 28, 2016 will be refunded, minus a $35 processing fee. No refunds will be issued thereafter; substitutions will be allowed. (2) To change or cancel your registration, call (800) 884-1381, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. (3) If an event is cancelled for any reason, the UGA Hotel and Conference Center will not be responsible for any charges related to travel.

Hotel Costs: 

You will be given the opportunity to make a hotel reservation as you proceed through the online registration process.

Contact information: 

Program Contact:
Cassie Scarborough
(706) 542-0442

Registration Contact: The Georgia Center
(706) 542-2134
(800) 884-1381

Special Needs: If you require special services, contact Nette Penn at by January 28, 2016.

Dietary restrictions should be indicated on the registration form or during the registration process.