The Vanuatu


Vanuatu Cultural Centre Fieldwork Network Program - ICH Courier Online Since its foundation in the early 1960', the main task of the Vanuatu Culture Centre has been to capture and capture the city' s rich and varied heritage. This documentary focuses on minutiae of recollected stories and tradition, detail of ceremonial practice, classifications and language, detail of cultivated landscape and especially places of culturally significant and recordings of contemporaneous occurrences of historic and culturally significant.

This latter, which is basically a story in the making, is filmed on videotape as an example of the museum's representation of physical arsenal. That is because our tribal civilizations are primarily verbal and therefore all our intercultural know-how is preserved and passed on verbally. The Centre possesses this documentary information, which has been used as a starting point for the revitalisation of certain traditions of historical practice that are no longer in use.

The majority of the centre's activity takes place on the outskirts of Vanuatu. Sixty-two men and 54 women sales representatives are located in their own language and cultures on the outskirts of the island, documenting their own cultures and histories as well as the cultures and histories of the neighbouring areas.

In view of the need to capture and preserve tribal information, which is monitored by rigorous methods of accessing and transmitting it, the Centre has designed a system that complies with these principles wherever possible. If field workers' wisdom is captured, it is made clear which parts of the spoken narration are limited to whom.

Since the field representatives belong to the same linguistic group as the whistleblower, there is a much greater chance that the whistleblower will be fully informed of what such a documentary involves and what he is willing to disclose. This on-site documentary work has proven to be an inestimable benefit for the programme's success: The traditional way of imparting verbal information continues, and in addition a group of relatives has the chance to acquire their own skills, even if this chance was missed during the lifetime of the owner of the document.

It is now launching a programme to provide the general population with full access to information on culture in the guise of literature and audiocassettes, the main audience being students. The audiovisual documentary of folkloric ceremonies and culture is one of the most important of the centre's field staff work.

Vanuatu's goal is to contribute to the preservation and promotion of customs and civilization and to make sure that as much of Vanuatu's civilizations and histories as possible is preserved for the afterlife. Documentary topics are important time-honored rites such as initiations, burials, weddings and clan-alliance rites, but also events such as weavings, garden work, country feasts and mythical performances.

These are all of great importance and interest to all ni-Vanuatu, and it is well known that coming generation will be able to learnt, studied and profit from this documentary work. A goal of the documentary is to inform ni-Vanuatu about the value of their own and related culture.

Prospective generation can benefit from the work of older people. National Film and Sound Unit, an important part of the centre, provides its service free of cost to local authorities on the islands to record ritual and historic happenings at their wish. Field staff across the island are currently focusing on audiovisual and photographic work, as we do not have enough footage to meet demands equally.

However, we have full-time movie sessions in South-West Bay, Malakula, Malakula Cultural Centre and Tafea Cultural Centre. In addition to on-site filming, the National Movie and Sound Unit is in charge of its collections of audiovisual materials from the early years of this 20th and more than three thousand long, filmed materials shot by the Centre's employees, sales representatives and researches.

By introducing TV in Vanuatu, we are hoping to regularly produce documentaries for the air. In this way, the Centre could profit from Vanuatu TV by co-producing regularly programmes on culture using already established programmes in the archive and by adding new footage. With the help of state-of-the-art audiovisual technologies and equipment, we are documenting and raising Vanuatu's rich culture and variety and helping to keep our small islands nation's distinctive heritage.

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