Edited by Gerald L. Pocius and Lisa Wilson
Fishing outports (like Quidi Vidi) typify the Newfoundland rural landscape, but fishing went on for generations within the confines of the city of St. John’s.
Seven years ago, public sector folklore graduate students documented the spaces of another St. John’s fishing community—the Battery—perched on the cliffs of St. John’s Harbour. The 2013 field school focused on the well-known fishing settlement within city boundaries—Quidi Vidi.
Quidi Vidi is the only community in the province that is actually referred to as a village— perhaps attesting to it being a place within a place. For generations, local residents have often referred to their living in Quidi Vidi Village, or simply—the Village. The community, therefore, has exhibited this dualidentity of being part of a city and being unique in its identity.
So to this unique place the participants of the 2013 field school turned their attention. Seven students spent three weeks in September, documenting a series of houses and outbuildings throughout the community.
These seven were: Christine Blythe (Florida), Kayla Carroll(Newfoundland), John Laduke (New York), Adrian Morrison (NovaScotia), Klara Nichter (Kentucky), Kari Sawden (Alberta), and XuanWang (China). Cyndi Egan (Florida) acted as the field school assistant.
Students were divided into three teams, and each group then documented one house. After this work, each student was responsible for the measuring of one outbuilding, and preparing the text for that plan, gathering information from interviews with the owners as well as describing the structure itself.
Besides the architectural research, each student wrote a brief essay on particular traditions found in the village, interviewing long-time residents about local knowledge and practices.