CBU VP Academic Awarded Marius Barbeau Medal

Cape Breton University’s Vice-President, Academic, Dr. Richard MacKinnon, received the Marius Barbeau Medal for lifetime service to the study of folklore in Canada this week at the Folklore Studies Association of Canada’s (FSAC) annual conference. 

Since 1978, the FSAC has awarded the medal in recognition of a remarkable contribution to folklore and ethnology. Named in honour of Charles Marius Barbeau, a Canadian ethnographer and folklorist considered to be a founder of Canadian anthropology, the award is presented annually for work in the fields of teaching, research and communication. 

“I am proud to congratulate Dr. MacKinnon on receiving the Marius Barbeau Medal from the Folklore Studies Association of Canada,” says CBU President, David C. Dingwall. “He has dedicated his career to the advancement of the field and is well deserving of this recognition.” 

Dr. MacKinnon is credited with bringing the study of folklore to life at CBU, building bridges with historians and archaeologists and paving the path for CBU’s folklore undergraduate major program. In 2005, Dr. MacKinnon founded the Centre for Cape Breton Studies which encourages the vital documentation of Cape Breton Culture. He has spearheaded fundraising initiatives, securing more than $400,000 from government agencies and the private sector. 

“I must thank Cape Breton University, the Beaton Institute and indeed the entire Cape Breton Island community for supporting me in my many research projects over the years,” says Dr. MacKinnon. “I am truly honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious national award.” 

After earning both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts, Dr. MacKinnon began his teaching career at the University College of Cape Breton in 1985, taking on a faculty role in 1994 after completing his PhD in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Over the years, Dr. MacKinnon has taught courses in humanities, community studies, heritage, history and folklore and in 2005 was named a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

“Dr. MacKinnon has dedicated himself to his community and has studied Cape Breton throughout his entire life,” says Laurier Turgeon, FSAC President. “From launching folklore studies at CBU to acting as FSAC Treasurer for a number of years, Dr. MacKinnon has given a lot to our field.” 

From countless published works on song and music performance to speaking at conferences across the world, Dr. MacKinnon is a respected expert in the field of folklore studies and well deserving of the Marius Barbeau Medal. He, along with his co-recipient and former classmate Dr. Diane Tye, received their awards on Thursday, May 25, at the FSAC Annual Conference held in Sydney. 

The Folklore Studies Association of Canada is an educational, non-profit association founded in June 1976 for the purpose of increasing education and research in the field of folklore studies in all its aspects. To learn more, visit: https://www.acef-fsac.ulaval.ca/en