About Kings County
Kings County is located on the Western Coast of Nova Scotia, along the Bay of Fundy. The area is known for its abundant apple orchards, thriving vineyards, world’s largest tides, and vibrant cultural landscape. Three towns – Wolfville, Kentville, and Berwick – find homes along the County’s old Highway #1, nestled between the South and North mountains (the term ‘mountain’ is something of a colloquial joke amoung locals).
The County boasts lively farmers markets, expansive views of the countryside, the first certified Fair Trade town in Canada, Acadia University, a burgeoning agri-tourism industry, beautiful heritage buildings, and more cultural amenities than one can possibly imagine in a rural area. Artists, cultural workers, and members of the creative class are attracted to the area because of the natural beauty, tight-knit artistic community, openness to alternative lifestyles, and affordability.
Kings County is home to a multitude of cultural facilities, events, businesses, and organizations, crossing over many different disciplines, and affecting a significant portion of the population. A cultural map will allow for increased collaboration between those in the cultural sector within Kings County but it will also make visible possible partnership opportunities for those outside the county.
About the Kings County Cultural Mapping Project
The goal of the Kings County Cultural Mapping project is to identify cultural assets in Kings County and display both tangible resources (resources that have a physical presence) and intangible resources (the stories and traditions that contribute to defining a community’s unique identity and sense of place), on an accessible and interactive map to be used by the community.
The project is supported by the Kings Regional Development Agency, the Alliance of Kings Artists, the Wolfville Rotary, and the Municipality of the County of Kings. It is supervised by a 12 person Advisory Committee, comprised of cultural stakeholders across Kings County including artists, cultural workers, researchers, business owners, Board members, and municipal planners.
Culture in Kings County plays an important role in defining and enhancing our quality of life. It’s also an important component in developing economic sustainability. Many of our cultural assets can be found off the beaten path, outside of town centres. The creation of a cultural map will offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a full range of local cultural assets in every corner of the County.
While the map will give the physical lay of cultural assets in Kings County, it will also make visible ‘intangible’ cultural assets such as stories and histories. These intangibles will be captured through a multimedia process of digital storytelling, whereby first-person narratives and images of local residents will be recorded and embedded into the map. These stories will focus on the impact of local arts practices and cultural activities, and look at the role local residents play in creating a vibrant cultural milieu.
The Kings County Cultural Mapping process is guided by four principles:
- Transparency of mapping process, parameters and decisions, as well as why participants get involved and what they hope to achieve;
- Inclusion of the cultural community of Kings County in planning, mapping and then deciding what to do with the map (while acknowledging reasons why some community members may absent from the process, and making a concerted effort to get these voices heard);
- Empowerment of the community to take action together on the issues and opportunities that map-making brings forth; and
- Acknowledgement of intangible assets, such as stories, histories, and traditions that aren’t traditionally shown on a map.
Objectives, that have been agreed upon by the Cultural Mapping Advisory Committee, include the following:
- To establish a cultural asset database of Kings County;
- To strengthen the local cultural sector;
- To establish an ongoing mapping system that will be used to maintain and expand the map over time;
- To facilitate greater communication and cooperation among cultural organizations in Kings County;
- To involve the local community in the data collection process;
- To hire a local artist to create the visual lay of the map;
- To encourage the use of this map in cultural planning and policy development by town and municipal planners, community developers, and cultural workers.
How might the map benefit the community?
We asked this question at our first public meeting, and this was our feedback:
- Increase awareness of cultural sector
- Identify key components of the cultural sector
- Provide up-to-date information for locals, organizations and visitors
- Locate cultural gaps, needs, networks and hubs
- Provide a foundation for municipal cultural planning
- Give visibility to intangible benefits of culture
- Create a physical presence for the arts
- Promote local cultural organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs
- Provide a visual representation of networking/partnering potential
- Contribute to pride of place/ sense of cultural community
- Strengthen the County’s branding strategy (food & culture destination)
- Enhance the attractiveness of the region for immigrants, tourists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses
Who is involved?
This project is supported in a number of ways:
Community Support – First, and most significantly, the project emphasizes the importance of local knowledge and community input. The project could not exist without active participation from a cross-section of community members. As this project has been developed there has been significant verbal support for both the process and the end product.
Advisory Committee – On a greater level of commitment, the project is supported by a 12 person Advisory Committee, which is comprised of cultural stakeholders from across Kings County, most of whom wear many different hats in the creative economy. Each committee member shows support on behalf of his or her respective business/organization, as well as personal buy-in.
Stakeholder support -The project has garnered support from local and regional organizations such as the Kings Regional Development Agency, the Alliance of Kings Artists, the three towns within Kings County, the Wolfville Rotary, and the Municipality of Kings in terms of hosting the final product, offering resources and information, and/or contributing financially.
How can you get you get involved?
Again, this is a question we asked participants at our first public meeting. These were the responses:
- Keep in touch and send ideas
- Attend the soft launch and other mapping events
- Raise awareness (link on website, blog, newsletters, word-of-mouth, etc)
- Host the map on a website
- Contribute a story
- Offer skills such as graphic design, GIS, and computer programming
If you are interested in learning more about the project, or would like to get involved, please feel free to drop us a line!