PHILIPSBURG:— The Department of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports will engage in the Cultural Mapping of St. Maarten.
A Cultural Map of St. Maarten would enable Government policymakers to make informed decisions, policies and legislation regarding the country’s cultural affairs and assist to establish a creative economy. A Cultural/Creative SWOT Analysis for St. Maarten will also be developed.
The process on Cultural mapping will begin by partnering with the National Commission (NatCom) for UNESCO with the launch of “Phase two” of the St. Maarten National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
An ICH Inventory is the process of listing a country’s inclusive and ‘living’ Intangible Cultural Heritages.
St. Maarten is an associate member of UNESCO and therefore is mandated to uphold the 2003 convention on “Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)”.
“Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is manifested in the following domain and is inherited from ancestors and passed on to descendants.
(a) oral traditions and expressions
(b) performing arts
(c) social practices, rituals and festive events
(d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
(e) traditional craftsmanship
By conducting a National ICH Inventory, it will be determined which diverse cultural traditions still exist on St. Maarten, which are becoming endangered and are in urgent need of safeguarding and how specific policies and measures can be taken to ensure their renewal, protection and continuity.
An anonymous Inventory Exercise will be provided to the public and the exercise consists of 15 open ended questions relating to the ICH domains mentioned above.
An invitation is extended to the entire public to become involved and proactive in helping the Department and Nat Com complete the Cultural Mapping and ICH Inventory.
As stated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “Cultural mapping involves a community identifying and documenting local cultural resources.
Through this research, cultural elements are recorded – the tangibles like galleries, craft industries, distinctive landmarks, local events and industries, as well as the intangibles like memories, personal histories, attitudes and values.” This project acts as a planning tool used to identify, categorize and record a city or nation’s tangible and intangible cultural assets/resources in a manner that can be easily accessed, visualized and understood by stakeholders.