For 40,000 years maps have been a way of making sense of the world. From cave paintings to ancient maps of Babylon, Greece and Asia, through the age of exploration and on into the 21st century, people have created and used maps as essential tools to help them define, explain, and navigate their way through the world.
Cultural mapping builds on this tradition and is a valuable tool for identifying a community’s strengths and its resources, acting as a bridge between marginalised voices and those with the power to make decisions that impact on their lives. More than that, the processes of including or excluding, classifying, ranking and representing in themselves encourage critical enquiry and discussion resulting in a new, multi-dimensional perspective on the world derived from collaboration and co-operation.
We are using the cultural mapping process to identify and record information on the city’s cultural infrastructure, embracing a multiplicity of viewpoints, to create a comprehensive knowledge base of the city’s cultural assets – tangible and intangible, “hard” and “soft” – to help elected members, officers, stakeholders and communities make decisions about the future of the city.
We also want to provide citizens with insights and information to help them be connected and involved in their city. We plan to develop a dynamic database and map of cultural information that gives citizens cultural choices, illuminates authentic stories, and defines the heart of our urban communities.
A multiplicity of voices and minds are needed to make a map that is as relevant and useful as it can be to Dublin City Council, citizens, communities and visitors. Assisting and advising the dedicated project team is an inventory Working Group drawn from the arts, architecture, business, education, heritage, planning, sport, science and tourism.
We have also gathered a research group that includes educators, community development workers, youth workers, artists, community activists and beyond to inform on-the-ground research approaches.
We plan to engage with as many citizens as possible through surveys, focus groups and community events: watch out for one coming near you.
The Cultural Map is taking place all over the City! The Map will build a database of culture as it happens throughout the city’s neighbourhoods and communities, and the work of the audit will similarly happen throughout Dublin over the coming months.