Remembering ‘the everyday’ using community maps

The data from the recent Marion Cultural Heritage Survey is equivalent to a vast store of local knowledge and stories. Knowledge about the Sturt River, the vineyards and almond groves. Stories of the people who helped build Marion, from the famous, like Colonel Light, through to nineteenth century families like the Westerns, Hamiltons and Shearings who settled in the area, to the Bulgarian immigrant in the 1950s who built three small shops on Marion Road by hand, and the local man who kept the Marino cliff top walk tidy and freshly planted. So what to do with it? How to get it out there so that others know about it too?

Developing cultural or community maps is one way of protecting and managing this sort of knowledge. Cultural mapping encourages people to celebrate the ordinary and the everyday, the things that may not usually be recorded, but that build a sense of place.

In the UK, community maps, known as ‘parish maps’, have been used as a means of community engagement, with the maps taking various forms, such as posters, photo collages, paintings and movies. Other ways of capturing local heritage include creating ABCs as a way of portraying a place and starting the process of understanding what it means. Details from a parish map and an ABC are shown below.

An alternative way of mapping stories is to present them digitally. A digital story telling project, the Wangaratta Digital Quilt, was carried out in Victoria as part of a project called Generations Wangaratta. The digital quilt initiative was intended to encourage storytelling and the sharing of stories between generations. It includes a series of short films and interviews with local residents and visitors. They are presented in the form of a digital quilt (see images below) where users can click on a picture to see and hear more information.

Wangaratta Digital Quilt home page

Wangaratta Digital Quilt

Wangaratta Digital Quilt (Images from

Susan Arthure

Further reading:
Clifford, S. 2011 Local distinctiveness: Everyday places and how to find them. In J. Schofield and R. Szymanski (eds) Local Heritage, Global Context: Cultural Perspectives on Sense of Place, pp.13-32. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing.

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