Cultural Sustainability Symposium Regisration
Download Registration Form:

To register by mail or fax:

Sterling College Cultural Sustainability Symposium
c/o Carol Dickson
P. O. Box 72
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827

To register with a credit card by phone:

Vermont Folklife Center
(802) 388-4964

Email culturalsustainability@ or call Andy at the Vermont Folklife Center: (802) 388-4964

Sequestering Tradition?: A Cultural Sustainability Symposium

Sequestering Tradition?: A Cultural Sustainability Symposium
August 15-18, 2013
Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, Vermont



This Symposium grows out of the premise that "cultural vitality is as essential to a healthy and sustainable society as social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability,” as articulated by Jon Hawkes in The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture's Essential Role in Public Planning.

We view “cultural vitality” as the diverse, thriving practices and beliefs that undergird social systems and make human action meaningful. Just as environmental sustainability recognizes the critical role of ecological diversity to the survival of our planet, cultural sustainability recognizes the critical role of cultural diversity to the health and well-being of our “cultural ecosystems.” Cultural sustainability provides a framework for discussing tradition as a dynamic cultural process, one that empowers people to make intentional decisions about their communities.

In recent years practitioners and scholars from a range of fields including anthropology, ethnomusicology, folklore and oral history have begun to explore how the concept of sustainability fits in with their work. In a related way, practitioners from fields such as arts administration, education, environmental studies, community and economic development, and community organizing have engaged increasingly with how the cultural perspectives, beliefs and practices of the communities in which they work impact their professional efforts.

Sequestering Tradition?: A Cultural Sustainability Symposium provides an opportunity for workers across this diverse range of fields to engage in dialogue one another around the intersections of culture and sustainability in theory and practice. Through this Symposium we hope to explore further the scope of cultural sustainability work and the core ideas that inform it. Our title Sequestering Tradition? aims to raise questions about what it means to “sequester”—to capture and store—cultural traditions in order to ensure their relevance and viability in a rapidly changing world. In addition, we ask: How can theoretical models from ecology and cultural work inform one another? How do they shape the concepts that underlie the discourse of cultural sustainability? Are there limits to these analogies? If protection and preservation of traditions are not enough, then what is?

Sequestering Tradition?: A Cultural Sustainability Symposiumwill host papers and presentations that explore the role of culture and sustainability from two related perspectives:

Goals for the Symposium

Symposium (noun), a “forum ... to debate, plot, boast, or simply revel with others.”

Who Should Attend

We invite scholars, students and practitioners concerned with the impact that culture and sustainability have on/in their communities. Cultural workers and community leaders interested in developing the skills and knowledge to take action on behalf of a community will find models and inspiration at this symposium.

Symposium Schedule

The detailed schedule of the Symposium is available on the Symposium Schedule Page.

Abstracts of Keynotes, Presentations and Workshops are available on the Symposium Abstracts Page.

Symposium Costs

Directions to Sterling College

  • By Air: Regularly scheduled flights arrive at Burlington International Airport (BTV)
  • By Rail: Amtrak train service is available to Montpelier, Vermont.
  • By Bus: Bus service is available to Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont.
  • Driving from the North, South, and East:
    Take I-91 to Exit 21
    Take route 2 West to West Danville, VT
    Turn right on route 15 West to Hardwick, VT
    Turn right on route 14 North
    Travel 8 miles & turn right on Craftsbury Rd
    Travel 3 miles to Sterling College on your left
  • Driving from the West and Burlington, VT:
    Take I-89 South to Exit 10 Stowe/Waterbury
    Take Route 100 North to Morrisville, VT
    Turn right on route 15 East to Hardwick, VT
    Turn left on route 14 North
    Travel 8 miles & turn right on Craftsbury Rd
    Travel 3 miles to Sterling College on your left
  • Contact Information

    Symposium Planners can be contacted as follows:

    Symposium Partners

    Sequestering Tradition?: A Cultural Sustainability Symposium is sponsored by the Goucher College Masters of Arts program in Cultural Sustainability, Sterling College and the Vermont Folklife Center.

    The Master of Arts program in Cultural Sustainability at Goucher College (Baltimore) brings together knowledge from anthropology, history, folklore, ethnomusicology, communications, business and management, linguistics, and activism to teach students how to effect positive, community-driven change in the cultures they care about most--whether it be an African village, an American inner-city neighborhood, a remote tribe in Asia, or a threatened public space just down the street. We teach our students how to work closely with individuals and communities to identify, protect, and enhance their important traditions, their ways of life, their cherished spaces, and their vital relationships to each other and the world.

    Located at the heart of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, and part of the area's growing agricultural renaissance, Sterling College is a liberal-arts college that integrates environmental studies throughout the curriculum. Sterling's mission is to "combine structured academic study with experiential challenges and plain hard work to build responsible problem solvers who become stewards of the environment as they pursue productive lives." Sequestering Tradition? A Cultural Sustainability Symposium capitalizes on the model of community and experiential learning at the center of Sterling's curriculum, and draws upon the resources of Sterling’s Environmental Humanities program.

    Founded in 1984, the Vermont Folklife Center (VFC) uses ethnography to strengthen the understanding of the cultural and social fabric of Vermont's diverse communities. The VFC's mission is to document and preserve the cultural heritage and traditions of Vermont, and produce educational programs and publications from its archive. We fulfill our mission by conducting ethnographic field research that captures the stories and traditions of our diverse communities; by teaching Vermonters of all ages to use digital technology to document and share their own life experience and heritage; by presenting public programs that increase understanding of our ever-changing cultural landscape; and by preserving personal and family stories, photographic collections, moving images, and recordings of regional music in our multimedia digital archive.

    website :: webstudio perdue