Cultural mapping with traditional methods

29 Oct 2021 | 18,19, 23 Dec 2021

Connecting young people with their heritage through personal stories and perceptions of place
The Cultural mapping workshop is part of the training session for OSCH Rajshahi youth board organized by URONTO Artist Community.

For these workshops 22 youth board members, between ages 18-25 years old, took part. The workshop was designed to deliver a clear understanding about cultural mapping, its importance and implementation in order to preserve and promote cultural heritage and museum narratives. The workshop was delivered in different phases of practice activity in physical spaces where the participants could learn about interactive communication through local content and context. 

Cultural mapping has been recognized by UNESCO as a crucial tool and technique in preserving the world's intangible and tangible cultural assets.  It is essential to understand the factors that influence perceptions of places, paying particular attention to personal and community interpretations of culture.  

For this workshop we made pata-chitra, traditional, cloth-based scroll painting, depicting puthis, fairy tales and religious stories from rural ancient Bengal. 

Steps of activity

The workshop included:  

  1. Introduction of cultural mapping 

  2. Describing the steps of cultural mapping 

  3. Group work: identifying local context and inspiration for Interactive communication design 

  4. Basic practice of interactive communication 

  5. Selection of topic for communication 

  6. First draft of activity outcome 

  7. Proof check of the historical narration 

  8. Developing final text 

  9. Developing drawings from local inspirations 

  10. Demonstration of scroll making 

  11. Final scroll making 

  12. Documenting the final presentation 

  13. Sharing experiences 

We connected passionately and emotionally with the process. We realized how much love, dedication and hard work you need to work creatively.  

Nabil, Youth Board members of OSCH Rajshahi 

The workshops

The Participants were divided into four groups, each with a selected site to work with and each group named after a mango from Rajshahi. The workshop was in three sessions. In the first session we introduced the process to the participants and wrote the “puthi”, in the second session we made the scroll and in the third session we documented them. 

1. Analyzing 

Participants collected basic data by discussion about their selected heritage sites. They did some online research and gathered information. Then they blended this with narratives by a local scholar from Rajshahi.  

2. Inventory 

The collected data was divided into segments to align information in a puthi format  

3. Mapping 

For mapping method, they focused on interactive mapping and used puthi writing style so that the it connected with the local audience. Also, the visual representation was a scroll painting which  connects with local traditional pattern that everyone could easily interact with. 

The outcome

At the end of the workshop each group presented their work, this was an opportunity to reflect on what they had learnt and share their experience. The workshop was also an opportunity for the Youth Board to learn new skills by creating the painted scrolls, and to develop their analytic skills by using cultural mapping to engage with their heritage.