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What’s a cultural audit about?

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The Dublin City Cultural Strategy 2015-2021 calls for the creation of a Cultural Map, stating that the City will “…develop a cultural infrastructure programme that will include the detailed cultural mapping of their areas on the understanding that infrastructure is both ‘hard’ (buildings) and ‘soft’ (networks, community organisations, programmes, histories etc.).

Cultural Mapping involves a detailed Cultural Audit, creating an essential knowledge base for planning and investment decisions focused on the development of a Smart City. It is described as a key tool for “identifying and leveraging a community’s cultural resources, strengthening the management of those resources, and integrating those cultural resources across all facets of municipal government planning and decision making” (Evenson, J. Tilden, C. 2010).

A Cultural Map is a dynamic database that brings together in a single place all existing cultural information available to the municipality, the communities, and all other relevant stakeholders, including individuals and organisations involved in Cultural and Creative Enterprises, Festivals, Community Cultural Organisations, Cultural Spaces and Facilities, Heritage (Built, Natural and Intangible), Tourism and Festivals.

Mapping the City’s Cultural Resources in this way produces a range of tangible benefits:

  • It works across all Dublin City Council departments
  • It supports Municipal Cultural Planning & identifies connections to City Planning
  • It identifies clusters, hubs, and opportunities within and around the Cultural Creative Industries
  • It works across all Dublin City Council departments
  • It supports Municipal Cultural Planning & identifies connections to City Planning
  • It identifies clusters, hubs, and opportunities within and around the Cultural Creative Industries
  • It supports Tourism
  • It creates a baseline for benchmarking
  • It leads to new ways of thinking and working
  • It makes the invisible visible
  • It crystallises community identity
  • It provides valuable information to citizen and visitor alike
  • It’s a great visual tool

There are four key phases to the development of a Cultural Map, namely

  • Planning
  • Data Collection
  • Database/Map Design
  • Implementation

In addition, to extract the full value from a cultural map, it must be maintained and updated on an ongoing basis. The closure of our cultural mapping project will initiate a maintenance plan for updating and maintaining the map over the next five years.

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