‘The Hidden Culture’ is a blog looking at culture through the eyes of a folklorist, oral and cultural historian..

Currently working on a website – stay tuned!

Topics: Food, family, traditions, music, dance, children’s culture, arts, superstitions, history. Prejudice, politics, gender, conflict and other contemporary issues.

The everyday aspects of our lives that inform who we are through intangible culture.

Ruth Hazleton lives in Melbourne, Australia, has studied Australian Folklife / Oral History at a postgraduate level, worked in the field (specialising in children’s folklore) and contributed to a number of publications.

Currently working at La Trobe University, Ruth also comes from a cultural history background. A mum, activist and folk musician, she’s most renowned for her work with Kate Burke (singing, playing 5 string banjo [insert banjo joke here]) and rifling through archives in search of good songs.


“Folklore is the perfect second skin. From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world.” ― Jane Yolen

The evolution of Australia’s folklife over time, with the disappearance of some items, the progressive alteration of others, and the development of new forms, is a natural process. It is important however to maintain conditions where folk traditions can survive within communities, and to ensure these traditions are identified and documented, as part of Australia’s evolving cultural heritage. This is often not the case at present, and elements of our folk heritage are constantly being lost. Community and government concern for heritage protection in Australia has so focused on material heritage – ‘the things you keep’ – that the essential intangible elements of our heritage, our folklife in all its myriad forms, have been neglected. – Australian Folklife Inquiry, 1987

Title taken from: G. Seal, “The Hidden Culture: Folklore in Australian Society” (Oxford University Press, 1989).