Where does culture – defined broadly but including values and sensibilities and ways of living in addition to the arts – reside? Is it in the official (typically civic-run) venues? In the muddy concert-ground field? Is it in the remnants of an ancient estuarial fishing industry or at the sealed-up pithead at Bevan Mines? Do cultural industries like museums and galleries stimulate or compartmentalize creative understandings of identity and place? How are the experiences of the Comox Valley alike and/or different when compared with other small BC cities?
These were questions that opened the Map My Culture project. Although the conference title provoked a syncopated raising of eyebrows, its meaning was immediately clear to runners and cyclists in the research group who, familiar with the highly popular Map My Run and Map My Ride online software, got the allusion to the play between space and activity. Is culture something we go to see? Where does one, as an individual, go to engage with it? Is it something that we carry with us along the way? Do we take it away? What is its imprint beneath our feet? And, ultimately, to what extent is it a personal (and personalize-able) phenomenon?
The proceedings of this three-day gathering reflect all of these concerns.