Traditional Knowledge Inventory of the Baccalieu Trail: Mobilizing Intangible Cultural Heritage

Lay Summary 

Newfoundland and Labrador has long been building cultural businesses based on aspects of our intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Traditional crafts such as hooked mats, tea dolls, carvings, knitted goods, and boots and slippers made from animal skins are on display in heritage and craft shops all over the province. Traditional music is the backbone of the province’s music industry. Heritage theatre presentations and “Times” interpreting our history and incorporating traditional forms of music and dance abound. At the same time, there is a both a decrease in the transmission of some traditional skills and knowledge, and a recognized need to grow traditional knowledge and people-based businesses to increase regional sustainability. The Traditional Knowledge Inventory is intended as a pilot project to: (1) identify existing knowledge holders (craft producers, storytellers, musicians, interpretive guides, and artisans); and (2) create a series of case studies of those knowledge holders already working in some way in the creative economy.

This project will focus on the Baccalieu Trail region of Newfoundland and Labrador, an area covering the Northwest portion of the Avalon peninsula. It will involve tourism professionals and local tradition bearers/intangible cultural heritage practitioners as identified by the communities. The main goal of the project is to create a list of tradition-bearers from the region, as well as a series of case studies profiling selected participants and how they use tradition or traditional knowledge to create local business opportunities, as a way of inspiring other tradition bearers to attempt similar work.

We will first work to identify possible partnerships, and to create a spreadsheet of who exists in the region holding which skills, as well as a small number of case studies illustrating people/organizations already doing good work in the sector (ie Wooden Boat Museum of NL packaging skills-learning vacations). Long term goals are to improve the quality, quantity, and value of tourism offerings along the trail, building stronger communities through sustainable cultural tourism.

Start date 
24 Feb 2020