Expert Outlook 2022The Culture StewardRethinking localism for a hyper-globalised world, people are reframing community, culture, and craft.

If the pandemic taught people anything, it was the value of their immediate surroundings and the individuals, culture, and craft that make up a community. The Culture Steward wants to preserve local culture against the backdrop of hyper-globalisation. They're challenging colonial histories in the UK, redesigning tourism in France, and establishing a new artisan culture in India among those who've quit corporate jobs. This group is reframing how people think about the past and the future to build sustainable local solutions for the next generation.

How are they behaving?

People are unearthing their cultural histories and rewriting them according to modern values. By confronting colonial roots, The Culture Steward is pushing for new narratives around people, culture, and history to help local communities, regions, and countries rethink how they got to where they are. Through education on a country and community’s past, The Culture Steward is offering new ways to reframe cultural identities.

On the Library: Wales National Museum reframes colonial leader

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The pandemic made people really consider who their ‘community’ was. Whether online or IRL, urban or rural, personal or professional, The Culture Steward is rebuilding spaces to construct new networks of communities, bringing a sense of kinship to societies fraught with loneliness and isolation.

On the Library: China's Gen Yers take on 'neighbourhood auntie' role

On the Library: Greener Champs-Élysées aims to strengthen local ties

The Culture Steward isn’t just preserving local culture but elevating it to levels of connoisseurship. Through the constructive expansion of art, craft, and design, The Culture Steward is putting their region on the map for global exports and consumption.

On the Library: How ‘made in China’ became a mark of luxury

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What our experts have to say
One of the most important things we need to do is protect cultural heritage and train the next generation so we can relocalise key industries.Wided BatatProfessor of marketing, entrepreneur, and speaker
The acceleration of digital and streaming platforms currently being embraced by Japanese companies is preparing them for the chance to actually do better on the global stage in exporting culture.Deanna ElstromFounder
During the lockdowns in Australia, we talked a lot about compassionate visits. Many people moved to neighbourhoods where they already had social support – whether family, friends, colleagues, fellow queers, or fellow migrants. The pandemic made these very personal decisions about relationships much more pragmatic and fundamentally changed the way we feel about our relationships.Dr. Crystal AbidinProgramme lead of social media pop cultures at Curtin University
There has been a push towards the great outdoors and preserving traditional crafts, but there's sometimes a kind of Disney-fication or tokenism that comes with that, unfortunately. I think if more people are going out to the countryside, it will help further environmental awareness, which I think is starting to become pretty highly ingrained in a lot of young, urban people in China.Jake NewbyWriter and editor
Lockdown in Australia was restricted in terms of how far you could travel, which meant that people became much more reliant on their local communities. Because of this, localisation is becoming an important factor in terms of what we're consuming, which has spawned all kinds of micro-scenes in terms of cultural output.Paul LewisUrban planner and DJ
Young people in India are trying to build back their lives by just using their own imagination and agency. They’re also aspiring to become more self-sufficient at home – even though we've come out of lockdowns.Snigdha PoonamIndependent journalist and author
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How to speak to the Culture Steward
Hyper-local for the hyper-global
The Culture Steward values provenance above all else. For global brands, that means finding ways to remember and celebrate heritage, whether that’s by telling old stories about new products or localising those items for modern lifestyles.
DO IT LIKEFosters
Support local creatives
The Culture Steward wants to elevate local makers. Increasing access to resources, programmes, and places to learn can help consumers get involved and build their own networks.
DO IT LIKEGuerlain
Understand Cultural Nuance
The Culture Steward is savvy and full of knowledge about their local community, so listening to their perspective is key to understanding regional nuances and building partnerships with cultural influencers. A deep understanding of a community’s values and codes is necessary to avoid ‘culture-washing’.
DO IT LIKEAldi
Upcoming LiveMeet the Culture Steward: Artisan to archivistDec 2, 2021 - 17:00 GMT / 12:00 EST / 9:00 PSTAncient food vlogging, neighborhood aunties, and Don’t Worry Village – we take a closer look at how this mindset is shaping sectors and revealing itself across different markets.
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