Table of Contents
Executive summary 3
Cultural aspects 4
Visual arts 4
Public art 5
Food as a cultural aspect of Stoke-on-Trent 5
Dialect of potteries 6
Theprocess of selecting a region as a cultural capital is guided by itsrichness in cultural aspects. In the case of the Stoke-on-Trent,cultural aspects include visual arts (such as fine ceramics),theatres (such as the Queens Theatre), the public arts (including theGolden Sculpture), traditional dishes (including lobby and oatcake),and the potteries dialect. All these categories of cultural aspectsindicate that Stoke-on-Trent is rich in culture since they exist indifferent categories and signify different aspects (such as the WorldWar II and industrial revolution) of the residents and the entireEurope. This makes Stoke-on-Trent a cultural destination of choiceand a suitable candidate for the cultural capital.
Theissue of loss of cultural values by many communities has been debatedfor many years. Some communities decide to preserve their culture byselecting specific places to serve as their cultural capitals.However, the process of selecting the most suitable cultural capitalshould be guided by certain factors, including the cultural richnessof the proposed region. The cultural richness, on the other hand, canbe measured using other factors, which include the variety and thesignificance of cultural aspects that can be traced in a givenregion. This report focuses on cultural aspects of Stroke-on-Trent,with the objective of indicating why the city should be considered asthe city of choice as a cultural capital of Europe in 2020.
Visualart is a critical tool that reflects the culture of a givencommunity. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is the major centerfor collection of visual arts. This museum has a collection ofpermanent structures representing the culture of its residents andfine ceramics. Most importantly, the museum contains the Anglo-Saxongold collection, which is the most significant representation of theculture of the people who lived in the Great Britain in the fifthcentury (Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, 2015, p. 1). Some of theitems of Anglo-Saxon culture preserved in the museum includebrooches, beads, and buckles. In addition Stoke on Trend is a homefor the Victory Hall and Regent Theatre and several other independentgalleries (such as AirSpace and Dazed) that contain contemporaryarts. Therefore, Stoke on Trend establishes the connection betweencontemporary and the ancient culture.
Cultureis an important factor that is used to distinguish betweencommunities, but it needs to be taught to the young generation sinceit is not inheritable. Theatres are the most effective facilitiesthat are used to transfer cultural values and practices to younggenerations. Stoke on Trent has several theatres that help the cityserve as a center for the preservation and transfer of culture fromone generation to the next one. Some of the common theatres found inthe city include the New Vic Theatre, Queens Theatre, Stoke-on-TrentRepertory, and Mitchell Arts Center among other theatres (The CityCouncil of Stroke-on-Trent, 2015, p. 1). The large number of theatresmakes Stoke-on-Trent a suitable candidate for the capital of culture.
Theleadership of Stoke-on-Trent has made a significant investment indeveloping public arts. For example, the city invested about £180,000 to construct the tallest sculpture in the Great Britain,which is known as Golden in the year 2013 (Roue, 2013, p. 1). Thissculpture will contain the memories as well as the wishes of the cityresidents. In the same year (2013), the Stoke-on-Trent unveiled asculpture that will commemorate the miners who made a lot of effortsto rebuild the village of Czech that was devastated during the WorldWar II (Roue, 2013, p. 1). This sculpture preserves the story of amovement known as Lidice Shall Live of 1942, which helped the Czechvillage recover after Hitler issued an order for its destruction. Thepublic arts are unique in several ways (including the size andfeatures), which make the Stoke-on-Trent city an icon of the GreatBritain’s culture and memories.
Foodas a cultural aspect of Stoke-on-Trent
Foodserves as a form of cultural identity of different communities. Thisis because different communities use different ingredients andcooking methods, which make each of the communities unique. In thecase of Stoke-on-Trent, residents have preserved most of their localdishes, unlike communities in other large cities that have adoptednew types of dishes. For example, lobby is a unique type of dishesthat is prepared by residents of Stoke-on-Trent using corned beef,potatoes, stock, and onions (Brandshaw, 2010, p. 1). The traditionand the uniqueness of the dish stems from the fact that lobby wereconsumed by the poor porters who could not afford other types ofdishes and fresh foods on a daily basis. In addition, Stoke-on-Trenthas preserved the “Staffordshire oatcake”, which is a specialtype of cake that carries the identity of the people of Northern partof Staffordshire, including Stoke-on-Trent. Therefore, the ability ofStoke-on-Trent to preserve traditional dishes depicts the city as asuitable cultural destination.
Thepotteries dialect that is only available in Stoke-on-Trent is art ofthe identity of the residents. The dialect originated from the oldEnglish of Anglo Saxon and gained popularity between the 14thand 18thcenturies (Whipp, 2000, p. 1). During this period, industrialrevolution created an opportunity for people to work in the miningand ceramic companies and live in highly populated areas ofStoke-on-Trent. This allowed the potteries dialect to grow to aunique way of speech that was specific to people working in thoseindustries. Therefore, the existence of the dialect preserves thehistory of industrial revolution and serves an identity of the peopleof Stoke-on-Trent.
Thecultural richness of a city should be based on the number, variety,uniqueness, and the relevance of its cultural aspects. TheStroke-on-Trent has all these qualities, which makes it a suitablecultural destination and a suitable candidate for the EuropeanCapital of Culture. The cultural richness of Stroke-on-Trent isconfirmed by the existence of unique visual arts, public arts,theatres, food, and the potteries dialect. All these cultural aspectsrepresent the unique identity of the people of Great Britain,preserve the culture of the residents, and remind people aboutsignificant and historical events, such as the World War II and theprocess of industrialization. The large numbers of theatres thatexist in the city serve as vehicles through which cultural practices,values, and beliefs are transferred from one generation to the next.Therefore, Stroke-on-Trent is a cultural destination of choice.
Applicationof anthropology to study the relationship between culture and tourism/ leisure
Thefield of tourism has been studied in quite an unsatisfactory andfragmented manner, where many scholars have focused on the economicvalue of tourism. This phenomenon can be attributed to the minimalcommitment of anthropologists, who form the only group of scholarsthat can facilitate a holistic study of tourism (Burns, 2014, p. 7).Therefore, more involvement of anthropologists in the study oftourism and its relationship with culture can provide new knowledgethat will contribute towards the future development of the tourismsector and preservation of culture. Anthropology provides models andperspectives that establish a more comprehensive connection betweenculture and tourism.
Thefield of anthropology provides suitable model that can be used toassess the influence that tourism and culture has on each other.Tourism has been seen as an economic activity for many years, butthere is a need to see tourism from a holistic perspective ofsocieties and their cultures. Anthropology provides the most suitablemodels that can be used to evaluate the relationship between cultureand tourism. For example, anthologies allow researchers to use theacculturation model to investigate the contact between culture ofdifferent communities and tourism (Burns, 2014, p. 5). This impliesthat anthropology is the only reliable study that facilitates a studyof the how tourism impacts and facilitates a change in culture of onecommunity after a contact between that culture and a differentculture brought by tourists.
Anthropologyfacilitates the study of tourism as a tool for commoditization aswell as preservation of culture. It is only tourism that motivatesmembers of a given community to package their culture in differentforms (such as visual arts, songs, and attires) and charge tourismswho wish to get entertained or learn the culture (Burns, 2014, p. 6).By doing this members of a given culture are able to earn bypracticing their own culture. Anthropologists (such as Cohen) havecast commoditization from a positive light in that it facilitates thepreservation of culture that would otherwise have to perish if therewas nothing to motivate community members from practicing it (Burns,2014, p. 6).
Anthropologyfacilitates the study of tourism as a part of cultural practice ofsome communities. Apart from being a tool for preservation as well ascommoditization of culture, the continued involvement ofanthropologists in the study of tourism has provided a new view ofthe relationship that exists between culture and tourism in somecommunities. Anthropologists (such as Victor Turner) have suggestedthat tourism is a ritual to some communities, which implies that itcould be seen as part of cultural practices of those communities(Jenkins, 2004, p. 18). Tourism as a ritual involves the removal ofmembers of the community from their routine, which is followed by adecrease in the relative importance of daily necessities. Thisprovides with a liberating experience that in turn help the touringindividuals to transition to a different phase of life. This group oftourists does not see tourism as a form of entertainment, but as partof their cultural practice that is evoked whenever there is a need tomove from one stage of life to the next one.
Therefore,the field of anthropology facilitates the study of the associationbetween tourism and culture from a broader perspective. Anthropologyfacilitates this study by providing suitable models and perspectivesthat can be used to explore all aspects of culture and tourism.Anthropology also facilitates the study of emerging trends on theassociation between tourism and culture by investigating on how theyinfluence each other.
Thesignificance of authenticity in tourism has been questioned in thepast, but trends indicate that the majority of tourist travel fromtheir homes to look for some authentic experiences. Culturalauthenticity is defined as a genuine, original, or real culturalexperience (Jean, 2008, p. 2). An authentic experience is obtainedwhen members of the given community behave and conduct themselves ina manner that is expected by tourists and a way that reflect theirtrue cultural believes, practices, and values. Although thedefinition of an authentic experience in the context of tourisms isless controversial, the possibility of achieving an authenticexperience and whether tourists will continue being motivated by theneed to have such experiences are the major sources of controversy.Many communities tend to claim that their staged as well asnon-staged culture is authentic. However, it is evident that theauthenticity is getting lost rapidly, which implies that authenticexperience has become a fad.
Thereis an increase in conflict between the back stage and the front stageauthenticity of culture. Many communities demonstrate their culturalpracticed through staged events (such as dance) where tourists try toget the authenticity of such communities’ culture from such events(Jean, 2008, p. 3). However, cultural authenticity that is observedfrom staged events is doubted because there is no evidence of whetherthese communities practice beliefs and values that are illustrated onstaged events in their normal lives. This trivializes the truemeaning of the term authenticity, since a difference between stagedculture and non-staged culture fails to reflect the true culture ofthe community. Therefore, the authentic experienced obtained bytourists is perceived, and not genuine.
Thesignificant impact of tourism on culture of the host community cannotbe denied. Studies have shown that tourism is among the most criticalagent of spreading imperialism and westernization (Jean, 2008, p.18). This is because the tourism tends to flatten the culture held byindigenous communities. This occurs through the change of ideologiesand perceptions of modernity, which initiatives the process of changeof the host communities as it tries to modernize itself. Eventually,some aspects of the culture get consumed completely by hordes of thevisiting tourists.
Otherscholars have shown that an increase in commoditization of culturehave altered cultural of elements, which have reduce culturalauthenticity. For example, many traditional festivals, dances,artifacts, and practices have lost their original meaning (Ivanovic,M., 2008, p. 137). The increase in modernity and westernization ofcommunities has reached the extent of altering the perceived meaningof cultural values. Commoditizing means that the local communitiesare forced by circumstances to change their practices in order toaccommodate the needs of tourists, which eventually leads to the lossof certain elements of culture and a gradual loss of authenticity.
Therefore,cultural authenticity is a mere fad that is difficult to experience.Many tourists leave the homes with the objective of looking for anexperience of cultural authenticity in other regions, but the realityis that all that they see is perceived or false authenticity. This isbecause many indigenous communities have lost the most criticalaspects of the original culture. The gradual loss of these culturalelements can be attributed to the influence of tourists themselves,who have shaped the perceptions of the host communities aboutmodernity. Therefore, an authentic cultural experience is a falsetrend that is difficult to achieve now and the future.
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