The scientific institution Institute of Folklore „Marko Cepenkov“ – Skopje is one of the oldest institutions in the Republic of Macedonia, established in the year 1950, studying contemporary and historical cultural phenomena and processes.
The activities of the Institute of Folklore are conducted through several departments in which research on the material and spiritual culture of the Macedonian and other peoples living in the Republic of Macedonia is performed. Scholars are trained in various disciplines such as:
- folklore research, ethnology, folk literature, literary theory, cultural antropology, ethnomusicology, ethnoorganology and ethnocoreology, theater studies vernacular architecture, art history, textile ornamentals; traditional and artistic crafts and skills.
The basic activities of the Institute of Folklore are carried out starting with fieldwork through which the condition of all of the segments of material and spiritual culture is being continually followed and noted. The material gathered through fieldwork is subject to: registering, guarding, protection, processing and presentation in the course of the internal scientific-specialist process. The multidisciplinary character of the research is presented with: gathering the products of folk creations during fieldwork, their treatment and publishing in order to affirm the cultural heritage which can be attained through their presentation and distribution in the form of published monographs and anthologies in Macedonia and abroad. The results of the conducted research are presented not only in the given macro-form (by publishing of scientific-specialist editions: monographs and anthologies), but also through micro-presentations, such as taking part in international scientific gatherings.
The multidisciplinary character of the research originates from the statutary structure of the Institute of Folklore, the professional teams of the departments, the level of expertise of the scientific personnel and their engagements which enables interactivity, transparency and scientific validity. The scholars at the Institute of folklore have started to apply contemporary theoretical frameworks in the interpretations of traditional culture in all its forms. This reffered to seeing traditional culture as a continuing process in constant transformation, not only historically, but also from the point of view of the contemporary everyday life.
Soon after its foundations, the Institute of Folklore started publishing the results of research conducted by the scholars, and in accordance with its initial scope of activities. The Institute has published thematic and regional monographs, collections of studies and papers dealing with various aspects of folk culture.
The International symposium of Balkan folklore is organised by the Institute of folklore „Marko Cepenkov“- Skopje every second year in Ohrid. The first Symposium was in 1968. All the papers presented at the conference are published in a separate volume, or volumes of „Macedonian folklore“, and distributed lately to all the participants.
The activities of the Institute of Folklore are suited to the Law for protection of the spiritual cultural heritage from the year 2006 and are conducted in compliancy with the recommendations from UNESCO incorporated in this Law.