History

The Folk Education Association of America (FEAA) was established in 1976 in Berea, Kentucky as the Folk School Association of America, with the purpose of advocating and organizing around the Scandinavian concept of the folk school as an adult learning center. Founders Kay Parke (NY State University College at Cobleskill) and John Ramsay (Berea College), both students of N.F.S. Grundtvig, the 19th c. Dane whose philosophy lies behind the movement, were aware of the long history of interest and study of these ideas in North America, and took action to formally organize that interest.

FEAA has grown through several phases of development over the years (see “Read More” below). Most recently, in 2014, a new entity was created, within the long-­lived national organization, by a group of young people calling their project “The Folk School Alliance,” (FSA). The group was interested in forging links with a wave of new folk schools springing up all over the USA. Over the next several years, the Folk School Alliance (FSA) has emerged as the leading project of FEAA.

This latest “wave” of folk school birthing includes new and contemporary forms of folk schools, which are nevertheless still rooted in the history that FEAA was formed to represent. This resurgence amounts to a “renaissance,” and FSA, under the auspices of FEAA, works to honor the extraordinary scope of this 21st century phenomenon. Together they are revitalizing the connections between schools, and presently sponsor a newsletter, maintain a web site and a Facebook page, and have the potential for conferences and other forms of connection to the whole network of North American folk schools.

Read more about the history of FEAA.