Angela Pollak

Photo of Angela Pollak, University of AlbertaDr. Angela Pollak, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta School of Library and Information Studies

I believe every community has the capacity to become healthy, prosperous and sustainable through cultural development. By traveling from coast to coast, conducting research, and writing about what I see, my goal is to make sure the right people have the right information at the right time so that can happen more often, especially in vulnerable rural and indigenous communities across our country. When I’m not online, you might find me at my home in Kitchener, in London where I teach, in Whitney where I practice what I teach, or in Edmonton where I currently work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Education’s School of Library and Information Studies. My favourite part of conferences is connecting with people and sharing ideas, so please stop me and say “hi” if you’d like to chat. If you’re curious but shy, look me up at, @IdeaTourist on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Shaping the Future of the Saugeen Peninsula 2018 Forum Talk

Rural Experience and Knowledge: The Case for Community Economic Development Through Intangible Cultural Heritage Tourism

In 1925, two southern belles with sympathetic souls and a fondness for rural living started a community benefit project aiming to double the joy and halve the social and economic challenges they witnessed among the people who lived in poverty in the Appalachian mountain region of North Carolina. Ninety years after opening the doors to the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, Olive Dame and Marguerite Butler’s vision of building community prosperity through shared experiences of arts, craftsmanship, performances, and meals persists. The school not only offers courses year round in everything Appalachia to local, national and international tourists, but also hope, prosperity, and cultural identity to the community which has supported it from the very beginning.

The lesson to be learned? If this little community can build economic and social prosperity out of very localized, rural knowledge and skills – what’s known more widely as intangible cultural heritage (ICH) – your community can too. This presentation explains what intangible cultural heritage is and highlights current challenges with and support for ICH practices in Canada. I will also share examples of a variety of intangible cultural heritage projects in North America to stimulate thinking on how ICH can be deployed under different circumstances.

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