Welcome to the 18 ISFNR Congress to be held in virtual Zagreb, Croatia

With the COVID‐19 pandemic continuing to prevent face‐to‐face scientific meetings throughout the world, the 18 ISFNR congress will take place fully online, in virtual Zagreb. It is rescheduled for September 5-8, 2021.

The organizers are saddened not to be able to offer hospitality in the capital of Croatia nor to provide an opportunity of socializing that makes ISFNR congresses part of the history of folklore studies.

However, we will do our best to turn the online congress into a high-level virtual meeting, and we strongly encourage folklore fellows and other scholars in the humanities to participate in this challenging, yet promising, online event.

Due to historical challenges of the current moment, the organizers are providing an opportunity for registered participants to update or change their topics within the congress focus, Encountering emotions in folk narrative and folklife, and invited a limited number of new participants to apply by April 10, 2021.

  • Extended deadline for new applications: April 15, 2021
  • Deadline for registration/fee payment: May 01, 2021
  • Deadline for late registration/fee payment: June 1, 2021
  • Preliminary program: June 30, 2021
  • 18 ISFNR congress in virtual Zagreb: September 5-8, 2021


The 2021 ISFNR congress theme is Encountering emotions in folk narrative and folklife.

In March and December 2020, Zagreb and central Croatia were hit by disastrous earthquakes and numerous aftershocks. For Croatian citizens, this meant new fears, anxieties, and uncertainties on top of the pandemic fears we have all been facing throughout 2020. But, Zagreb is the right place to resume the ‘Unfinished Stories’ of the last ISFNR congress in Miami (2016) and to feel the hope for meaningful change and enthusiasm that leads us forward, as well as that anchors us to our inner selves from which the power of narration and of belief stem.

Take a preview of the venue, Zagreb, and get a sense of life once known in this part of the world. (Zagreb).

Congress organisers

Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (IEF) & Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (FFZG)

The Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research was founded in 1948 in Zagreb. It is a renowned center for folkloristic, ethnological, ethnomusicological and related scientific research in the Republic of Croatia. The members of the Institute are experts in a variety of disciplines, such as: ethnology, cultural anthropology, folklore studies, literary theory, theatre studies, music studies, choreology, and art history. They are engaged in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research into historical and contemporary cultural phenomena and processes contributing to different academic and educational programs, workshops, summer schools, conferences and community programs with their specialization knowledge.

Within their research projects – such as Citymaking (HRZZ project, 2014-2018), Humanities at Scale: Evolving the DARIAH-ERIC (HaS-DARIAH, Horizon 2020, 2015-2017), Closing the Gap Between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans (Horizon 2020, 2016-2019), Human-Animal Relationships in Archaeology (Marie S. Curie Actions, Individual Fellowship, 2015-2018), Transwork (HRZZ project 2017-2021), Narrating Fear (HRZZ project 2017-2021) – members of the Institute have accomplished new research agenda and established cooperation with related academic institutions in the EU and beyond.

The Institute has a rich library and collection of ethnographic materials, where more than ten thousand manuscript collections, audio and video recordings, photographs and films are held. The Institute also publishes the Nova etnografija series with more than hundreds volumes published so far, as well as the academic journal Narodna Umjetnost. The Director of the Institute is dr. sc. Iva Niemčić.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb (FFZG) is the largest higher education institution in Croatia which carries out research activities and executes university programs in the field of humanities and social sciences. FFZG is part of the University of Zagreb, the oldest university in Croatia and one of the oldest universities in Europe. FFZG is also a significant cultural institution with a great impact on Croatian culture and society.

Today it offers 189 BA and MA Programmes in humanities (anthropology, archaeology, ethnology and cultural anthropology, comparative literature, history, history of art, linguistics, philosophy, phonetics, pedagogy, and languages and literatures – Croatian, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indology, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Rumanian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, East, West and South Slavic languages) and social sciences (information sciences, pedagogy, psychology, sociology), as well as 19 PhD Programmes.

FFZG is currently involved in more than 40 projects financed from different national and international funds (Adris Foundation, Croatian Science Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, European Social Fund, European Fund for Regional Development, Research Council of Norway, Economic and Social Research Council UK etc.). There are two Departments within it: the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology and the Department of Croatian Language and Literature (specifically the Chair of Croatian Oral Literature).

Since 1986 the members of the Chair of Croatian Oral Literature have instructed students in folklore fieldwork research and these small student projects resulted in the Archive of Manuscript Collections containing contemporary records of Croatian folklore genres (songs, folktales, proverbs, child-lore and other genres), which makes the Archive the largest collection of contemporary Croatian oral folklore genres. Due to the fact that the students were doing their fieldwork research mostly in their local community, those records are the faithful witness of active and passive repertoire of different communities in Croatia (and many Croatian communities outside of Croatia).

The Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology has a rich archive, with material gathered during field research, in the frame of scientific projects, and as part of teaching activities since the establishment of the Department in the 1920s. It contains valuable materials from the Ethnological Atlas project, as well as diverse archive material on a variety of topics (research records, photographs and video material, students’ seminars and graduation thesis, etc.).

The Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology publishes scientific journal Studia ethnologica Croatica, and it is a co-publisher of the journal of Croatian Ethnological Society Etnološka tribina. Books and edited volumes written by the members of the Department are published by Croatian and international publishers (among others, FF-press of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Croatian Ethnological Society, etc.).

In 2015, the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, together with the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, organised the 12th international SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) congress, which gathered over 900 participants.

Organisational and IT support

The administrative and IT support for the ISFNR 2021 congress organization is provided by PENTA.

Congress Video Report

Zagreb Promotional Videos

Congress Opening Ceremony

Renata Jambrešić Kirin: Welcome lecture