Assembling the Smithsonian Folklife Festival: A Journey into the 2011 Colombia Program
These pages offer a window into the processes of conceptualizing, researching, and producing the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program on Colombia.
Colombia: The Nature of Culture was a complex project that convened one hundred cultural practitioners for ten days on the National Mall. The project team was comprised of researchers, curators, artists, translators, photographers, videographers, engineers, and educators from the United States and Colombia. For three years, we worked together to conceptualize, research, and produce the Festival, which featured live performances, demonstrations, workshops, and discussion sessions representing six ecosystems and three cities.
By sharing documentation from all phases of the project as well as the perspectives of project staff and participants, the following pages showcase the Festival content and themes and provide insights, lessons, and models that we hope others can adapt for the documentation and interpretation of their own traditions.
"The Smithsonian provided a unique opportunity for representatives of Colombia's cultural and ecological diversity to meet in one space. Where else would you find a real paisa mule driver and a shaman from the Amazons together in the same place?"
—Mario Lamo, www.eltiempo.com
The themes, ecosystems, traditions, and participants featured in the Colombia program
Artist portfolios of the individuals and groups that participated in the Festival
The three-year process of preparation for the Colombia program
Program themes translated into a site design for the Festival
Different formats for presenting traditions
Outcomes and impacts of the Colombia program