Cultural mapping, which spans many academic disciplines and methodologies, is informed by the observation that cultural phenomena are distributed spatially and that people experience the symbolic resources of their communities in spatial terms. While cultural mapping is firmly grounded in the world of academic disciplines and inquiry, it has a pragmatic dimension as well. In the Creative City Network of Canada’s Cultural Mapping Toolkit, for example, Cultural Mapping is defined pragmatically as “a process of collecting, recording, analyzing and synthesizing information in order to describe the cultural resources, networks, links and patterns of usage of a given community or group.” Cultural mapping is generally regarded as a systematic tool to identify and record local cultural assets—and these assets are thought of as “tangible” or quantitative (physical spaces, cultural organizations, public forms of promotion and self-representation, programs, cultural industries, natural heritage, cultural heritage, people, and resources) and “intangible” or qualitative (community narratives, values, relationships, rituals, traditions, history, shared sense of place). Together these assets help define communities in terms of cultural identity, vitality, sense of place, and quality of life.
Cultural mapping, then, is a theoretically informed research practice and a highly pragmatic planning and development tool. But cultural mapping can also be viewed as a form of cultural production and expression. Mapping can itself be cultural—that is, animated by artists and artistic approaches to mapping collective and competing senses of place, space, and community. The Folkvine project in Florida (and the work of the Florida Research Ensemble generally); the memory mapping work of Marlene Creates and Ernie Kroeger; the storymapping of First Nations experiences in small cities documented by the Small Cities CURA; Map Art and Diagram Art from the Surrealists to the Situationists to the work of contemporary artists; Sound Mapping, sonic geographies, and acoustic ecology research: these alternative approaches to mapping culture and community are helping to expand and refine the possibilities for mapping as a form of cultural inquiry.
The editors of Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry seek submissions that address cultural mapping in all its forms and applications. Abstracts and inquiries should be sent by March 30, 2012 to Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts, Faculty of Arts, Thompson Rivers University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editors for the refereed book publication (to be published jointly by the Centro de Estudos Sociais at the University of Coimbra, Textual Studies in Canada and the Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance): David MacLennan, W.F. Garrett-Petts, and Nancy Duxbury.
Centro de Estudos Sociais: www.ces.uc.pt
The Small Cities CURA: www.smallcities.ca