Mason folklore program alumni, Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, grew up consuming a steady diet of fairy tales. Their folklore interests eventually led them both to graduate degrees in folklore studies at Mason, and, later, PhDs in folklore from Ohio State University. In 2016, Cleto and Warman founded the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, an online program offering courses on fairy tales, folklore, writing, and related subjects.
The idea came from students and friends who had expressed interests in folklore studies but didn’t have access to traditional classes. Cleto and Warman wanted to create a resource for nontraditional students which could be accessible globally. After a successful pilot class, the school has evolved and grown. It now includes over a dozen self-guided classes and regular live modules and workshops.
Cleto and Warman want students to develop a basic understanding of the field of folklore studies. They hope students gain the confidence to talk about their own folklore and use it to connect with those around them. Cleto and Warman push students to incorporate folklore into their creative work, while keeping “a sense of fairy-tale enchantment” alive. Cleto and Warman noted that they are proud to be part of a long tradition of “scrappy folklorists who find ways to teach their subject within and outside of the university system.”
In 2019, Carterhaugh received the Dorothy Howard Prize from the Folklore and Education Section of the American Folklore Society. The Dorothy Howard Prize honors those who “us[e] folklore in educational settings in rich and meaningful ways… both within and outside the classroom.” The Dorothy Howard Prize committee praised Carterhaugh as “a folk school for the digital age.”
October 20, 2020