Since the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1967, we have brought together recent immigrants with those who preceded them by generations—or by millennia—to examine how they have contributed to the vitality of this country. On this 50th anniversary of the Festival, On the Move further explores how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States.
Building on a small but innovative program from 2016, the 2017 program foregrounds the perspectives of youth, past and present. It invites intergenerational conversations about the interplay of migration, creativity, and culture. It highlights the social power of tradition and art, and focuses on how young people assume responsibility as bridge builders among communities, generations, and to the future.
Youth represent both vulnerable and powerful positions in society. They are technically “dependents” until their late teens, yet they are trailblazers and energizers of change. Today’s generation of young people—ranging from their mid-teens into their mid-thirties—are the most racially diverse population in American history. Whether themselves migrants or immigrants, they have a particular stake in the world they are inheriting together.
Join us on the National Mall for performances, workshops, sports and visual arts demonstrations, and discussions. We will address themes of multilingualism, diversity and identity within and across cultural communities, shifting notions of belonging, high-tech and traditional ways of communication, and the disruptive and generative impacts of migration. Come explore how American communities and cultures are transformed by the movements, displacements, and interactions of diverse populations. Together we will learn and share how to build inclusive communities across the country.
Support for this program provided by the American Anthropological Association. This program also received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, and from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.