Traditional Cultures Project is devoted to creating accessible, engaging, and meaningful educational resources about the world's traditional cultures. We aim to inspire an enduring sense of wonder and respect for the myriad possibilities of what it means to be human.
At this time of rapid global change, our goal is to document traditional cultures: how they live, what they believe, what they value, and how they adapt to the challenges they face in the modern world. With our documentary material, we are creating an online multimedia collection, where current and future generations can learn about - and learn from - traditional communities. We also design programming for schools, sending our documentarians in to classrooms to give presentations about these cultures, sparking students' imaginations while teaching them about the people who share our planet.
Surrounded by a world that's modernizing more rapidly than ever before, traditional peoples everywhere are facing times of profound change. Some are losing the natural resources on which they've always relied due to deforestation, desertification, and industrialization. Others are coerced by economic and political forces into abandoning their ancient lifestyles. And others have embraced new opportunities, through technology and education, to make their difficult lives easier - sometimes leaving them behind altogether. Between the array of challenges and choices, it's hard to imagine what the age-old cultures that still survive today are going to look like in a hundred years: how many will remain essentially intact, how many will maintain their unique identity while adopting a different lifestyle, and how many will simply disappear, absorbed or converted into something else entirely.
Recognizing this, TCP was conceived to produce, preserve, and present documentary work about traditional cultures, in a format that is flexible, accessible, and dynamic.
Our projects combine text, images, and audio/video recordings to tell the stories of traditional and indigenous communities around the world. Since they are created for the web, they are completely free and easily seen by anyone with an internet connection. Over time, our projects can be updated to reflect changing realities, following the fates of the peoples we document as they continue to unfold. Our growing collection of multimedia stories is a vivid testimony to the intrinsic value of human diversity, while sharing the important legacy and knowledge base of traditional and indigenous cultures. If it's hard to imagine what these cultures will look like a century from now, at least people a century from now will know what they looked like today!
In addition to our online projects, our speakers program brings our work into schools and communities around the United States. For more information, please check out our slide show page. We've also launched a short-form photostory website called 20 Shots, for quick glimpses into rarely seen ways of life.