One world, many voices

The 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlighted some of the world’s most endangered languages and cultures. Smithsonian believes that their loss would be “a catastrophic erosion of the human knowledge base, affecting all fields of science, art, and human endeavor” and “an incalculable loss to indigenous peoples’ sense of history, identity, belonging, and self”.

In an effort to help raise awareness of the value of language and cultural diversity, as an outcome of this festival, Smithsonian created story map that takes you on a “virtual tour” of some of these communities around the world.

The story map draws on the idea of Language Hotspots, areas of the world with high levels of cultural, linguistic and biological diversity, with correspondingly high levels of endangerment. These hotspots are likely to be critical sites of music endangerment too. More research will be needed before we can say for sure whether this is the case.

Visit the story map here!

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