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BorderLore, June 2015 

Maps ignite cultural imagination and reveal richness beyond geography


Navigation, boundaries and beauty - it all comes together in maps. Beyond its role as a directional instrument - a map can be an artistic mosaic, revealing the unique character of a chosen landscape in precise detail.


Maps also are coded descriptions of culture.  Through arrays of information and imagery that are collected and informed by the community, maps can diagram social as well as geographical terrain, in traditional and abstract ways.


This BorderLore edition focuses on cartographic expression as it relates to connecting experience and place - how mapping is a visualization of relationships, a plotting of personal worlds, and a drawing of pictorial insights into community identity through space, taste, people, arts, geography and culture:

Cultural mapping reflects a new dimension of community engagement, with the process of asset mapping encouraging creativity as we catalog our cultural resources. Author and consultant Tom Borrup discusses how asset mapping encourages collaboration, here.

Old maps can be visual memoirs of a city. Dr. Jonathan Mabry, Tucson's Historic Preservation Officer, reflects on a 1919 Tucson Sanborn Map about why old maps figure in city planning, here.

When a folklorist also is a cartophile, he creates the fantasy city of Solara, of course. Read about the personal geographies created by SFA's visiting folklorist and Archie Green Fellow Nic Hartmann, here.

Learn more about foods that cross boundaries, in observations by Native Foodways Publisher/Tohono O'odham Community Action Co-Director Terrol Dew Johnson, and Native Foodways Editorial Director/food author, chef Mary Paganelli Votto, here.

Catch up on how creative placemaking continues to help our community map Tucson's Arts narrative, in a review of the TPAC People, Land, Arts, Culture and Engagement (PLACE) initiative, here.

June News Roundup:
  • Jim Griffith remembers the 2001 NEA Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient and beloved folklorist, Joe Wilson, here.
  • Applications for the first Master-Apprentice awards, due July 15, are found here.
  • More Mapping Resources, a June Roundup can be found here.
Editor's End Note... 


There are stories waiting to be revealed in the visible and invisible landscapes around us. And culture is a pervasive reality that helps navigate all the worlds we map.


"Mapping our cultures in all their 360 degrees and in their depth, keeping our diverse stories and multiple histories interrogating and renewing each other, is a key cultural function of our time."

--  Greg Young, Cultural Mapping in the Global World
(2003 Association of Southeast Asian Countries Education Ministers Conference)


But, be warned, "...the map is not the territory."

-- Polish-American engineer and scholar  Alfred Korzybski,

(1931 paper for the American Association for the Advancement of Science)
2015, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the monthly e-news magazine of Southwest Folklife Alliance. The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people's viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona. 
Managing Editor:   Monica Surfaro-Spigelman 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We welcome your feedback, commentary and any suggestions or ideas. Write to us at:  swfolklife@gmail.com

Previous issues of BorderLore Newsletter are archived  here and here.