April 15, 2016

Artist and activist Angelique Kidjo

Next month, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan will host a one-day symposium exploring exemplary efforts to sustain local artistic practices and cultural identities in the face of ever-accelerating globalization.  The symposium will be held on May 12, 2016, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, at the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

As international trade and investment, immigration/migration, and technologies touch the lives of almost everyone, the world is increasingly understood and experienced as a single place. People afflicted by human conflicts and natural disasters engage traditional arts practices and values to serve as social rallying forces that enable effective group self-determination

Within this vast context, individuals and communities strive to sustain the expressive cultures that matter most to them and to maintain and strengthen a sense of social cohesion. In the process, they are generating innovative strategies for cultural sustainability and safeguarding their living cultural heritage.

Beyond the inherent value of their art and heritage, participation in traditional arts activates cultural assets that promote individual well-being and public health. Moreover, cultural heritage plays an increasingly important role in economic development, both through the growing artisan sector and cultural heritage tourism.


8:30 a.m. — Gathering for coffee and tea

9:00 — Welcome by Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David Skorton

9:15 — Speaker: Queen Mother of Bhutan
             Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck

9:30 — Panel: Cultural Heritage and Wellbeing
             Amy Kitchener, Alliance for California Traditional Arts
             Amy Skillman, Goucher College
             Maribel Álvarez, Southwest Folklife Alliance

10:30 — Speaker: Angelique Kidjo

11:00 — Panel: Cultural and Economic Sustainability
               Reema Nanavaty, Self-Employed Women’s Association (South Asia)
               Nilda Callañaupa Álvarez, Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, Perú
               Marjorie Hunt, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

12:00 p.m. — Lunch

1:30 — Panel: Cultural Sustainability and Revitalization
             Kevin Shendo, Jémez Pueblo
             Anthony Woodbury, University of Texas at Austin
             Catherine Grant, Griffith University (Australia)

2:30 — Speaker: Maria Rosario Jackson, Claremont Graduate University

No registration is necessary for the symposium. If you have any questions, please email folklife@si.edu.