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  • Human Tower of Catalan Protestors Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

    Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage director Michael Atwood Mason published an article in Smithsonian Magazine on June 13, featuring a peculiar protest that occurred around the world earlier this month. As part of the “Catalans want to vote. Human towers for democracy” campaign, courageous climbers stacked themselves atop one another in public squares in Barcelona and sixty other towns and cities.

    “The Catalans are actively seeking international support for a referendum on November 9th, allowing a vote to settle the question of an independent state for the region. The Spanish government maintains that the Catalans have no legal right to pose this question, but most Catalans think that as members of European democracy, they can call for a non-binding plebiscite. The use of human towers to draw attention to the fact that they want their voices to be heard is a dramatic and intriguing display of a performance that was declared in 2010 by UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.’”

    Read the full article on

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