Based on collaborative research models long refined by the Center’s curators, SomVallBas seeks to strengthen all local cultural expressions and reinforce the sense of belonging. Smithsonian and Catalan researchers work together to promote the safeguarding of intangible heritage by:
- Identifying and documenting these cultural expressions
- Contributing to an inventory of such elements
- Fostering the sustainable development of one or more of these local living traditions
The Center sustains cultural diversity by collaborating with communities and using digital platforms to share these stories with a wider audience. SomVallBas engages the local community to make conscious decisions about the future of its cultural life.
At the Smithsonian, we promote cultural sustainability through the production of experiences that lead to conversation and often to the transmission of knowledge. These experiences engage the community to undertake certain actions—from dancing to the sound of an accordion and violin after a potluck lunch to sharing mushroom or berry preserve recipes.
In such exchanges, memories are stirred. In sharing recollections, community members recall long-dormant traditions and sometimes even bring them back to life. Our process expands our knowledge of those elements that the community cherishes most.
Our goal in interviewing residents is to develop an objective and current picture with the community. Informed with a representative map of cultural activities, the community will be positioned to decide which cultural expressions matter most to them and how they wish to nurture them in the future. By engaging the community in a process of co-creation, our intent is not just to create the opportunity to reflect collectively about the living traditions of the Vall d’en Bas, but also to engage all the stakeholders and find the strategies to make living traditions more sustainable.