The Valletta 2018 Culture Mapping Conference starts tomorrow and to find out a bit of what’s to come, we’ve sent our guest blogger Victoria Galea to meets up with Neil Peterson, one of the speakers presenting at the conference. Peterson, a freelance consultant to European Capitals of Culture and Candidate Cities, will be giving his paper on Friday. His paper addresses the very intriguing question: Can Culture Change Communities?
The presentation examines the direct practical experience of a number of European Capitals of Culture using forms of cultural mapping to shift from top down intervention to a more diverse approach which strengthens and supports community resilience and builds capacity. It also indicates whether or not they have been successful and what lessons can be learnt.
Peterson sets out to demonstrate that working together with community groups over a period on a project helps to develop a better understanding of what people really value. This leads to cultural and community services developing in a different way – better suited to local needs and more likely to be owned by that community. Peterson, through his paper, will demonstrate how securing local participation in major event programmes can unlock a real sense of civic pride and togetherness which can have a lasting impact. He also points outs some of the perils and pitfalls which are to be avoided at all costs.
The presentation will also focus on the post-ECoC community legacy indicating how cultural mapping, and the programmes which developed from the initial mapping work, have made fundamental and long term changes at both city and community level.