ECura (ERC StG)
Researchers have recognized that culture bearers need to be more centrally involved in music sustainability, both for these programmes to prove practically effective and because it is ethically essential that community members determine what music might be shared with others, if any, and under what conditions. ECura innovatively designs a new research framework for applied ethnomusicology (and related areas) that capitalizes on newly emergent possibilities for sustaining intangible culture arising from the rising participation of ethnic minority members in digital social media platforms.
It addresses a central question: How can we empower ethnic minority groups to become the main actors in sustaining their indigenous cultural heritage via their wide participation in mobile digital media platforms? The action-based and collaborative research framework includes:
- Making tailored platform programs to better accommodate equal online participation.
- Setting up a website as a crowdsourced database “recording” community culture.
- Daily communication, community outreach, workshops to empower culture bearers.
- Cultural and media studies approach to contextualize the observed processes
- Virtual ethnography on culture bearers’ social media activities ECura has the potential to transform the ways ethnomusicologists, folklorists and others work with communities to sustain endangered cultural heritage. Its step of transforming culture bearers into the curators of their own digital materials is crucial.
It focuses on three villages in Yunnan, China, allowing the acquisition of a deeply contextualized understandings of three contrasting cultural heritage settings and development of carefully shaped solutions to the challenges detected. Similar situations of cultural imperialism, the vanishing of indigenous culture, and the disempowering of the underprivileged in managing their own culture, occur worldwide. The new research framework will thus be transferable to a broad cross-section of endangered cultural heritages among minority communities in larger contemporary states who are adapting to rapid digitalisation globally.