Arts and Cultural Resilience Asset (ACRA) Mapping

Participatory asset mapping to expand community resilience against disasters

What is an Arts & Cultural Resilience Asset Map?

An Arts & Cultural Resilience Asset (ACRA) Map documents the physical infrastructure, capacities, and knowledge stewarded by local arts, culture, and event industries. This might include things like:

Event tents, tables, chairsFirst aid trainingNotable landmarks
Solar power systemsCART caption servicesImportant historical sites
Climate-controlled spacesAccessibility expertiseKnown hazards
Two-way radio fleetsCertified crowd managersMissing curb cuts

Developed in collaboration with community stakeholders, each map is responsive to local needs and goals. The maps and related materials are co-created and can be accessed, shared, and updated at any time. Learn more about the process or who's involved.Our approach centers safety, accessibility, sustainability, and community engagement as key areas of emphasis for resilient gatherings and communities. This heuristic is agnostic to the kind of mass gathering in question, making it applicable to a wide variety of activities including arts and cultural events (e.g. concerts, festivals, sporting events), emergency response interventions (e.g. evacuation camps, post-disaster temporary housing, vaccination sites), and community or religious gatherings. Read more about this model in our brief "Defining resilience for mass gatherings".

Every ACRA mapping process is unique, because every community has unique needs and existing infrastructure related to resilience. Our team contributes a cross-sector emphasis on resources and capacities related to safety, accessibility, sustainability, and community engagement. Both the workshops and the resulting maps are shaped by local stakeholders who determine specific desired goals of this process and identify the inventories of resources and capacities that are valuable to them. Learn more about the ACRA method.Broadly speaking, the ACRA mapping process is designed to:

  • Build recognition and belief in the capacities of local people

  • Mobilize their capacities to produce concrete outcomes in support of community resilience

Who's involved

Arts and Cultural Resilience Asset (ACRA) Mapping works best when the process includes participation from these three groups of stakeholders:

  1. Arts and culture workers, event producers, culture bearers, artists, and other members of the arts and cultural community

  2. Emergency managers, first responders, and emergency professionals

  3. Government workers in resilience planning, cultural heritage preservation, or other relevant fields

People in each of these groups steward important locally specific knowledge that is important to capture. They may also be potential users of the resulting maps. The mapping events also serve as networking opportunities for community members across disciplinary boundaries— but with a common interest in strengthening community resilience— to get to know each other.An initial process with community stakeholders determines goals for the map and establishes inventory priorities. The map is then drafted through one or more community workshops that introduce asset mapping and guide a broad range of participants through the process of co-creating a map. Learn more about the process.

Why it matters

Arts and Cultural Resilience Asset (ACRA) Mapping provides a mechanism for the identification of local/regional skills, resources, infrastructure, and communications networks which can contribute to community resilience, especially as communities seek to fortify themselves against the impacts of climate change.

Emergency response agencies like FEMA already value arts and cultural workers as natural partners for equitable community-driven emergency response, as described in the FEMA "National Disaster Recovery Framework" and "Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection with Arts & Culture". This reduces bottlenecks in the event of widespread disaster. It also increases the level of trust, local knowledge, and cross-cultural communications that are included in planning and response. An ACRA mapping workshop supports these goals well in advance of an disaster by bringing arts and emergency professionals together to meet one another and share important local knowledge.

The process

Arts and Cultural Resilience Asset (ACRA) Mapping provides a mechanism for the identification of skills, resources, infrastructure, and communications networks which can contribute to community resilience.Prior to the participatory workshop, key stakeholders across the arts, event production, and emergency management meet to identify specific goals for their ACRA map and design a resource/capacity inventory that supports these goals. For example, some communities may wish to identify physical assets and skills distributed throughout the community which may be usefully redeployed for disaster response and recovery. Others may prioritize crowdsourcing known hazards or existing and potential emergency meeting points for use in a crisis scenario.The resulting workshop invites broad participation from arts, culture, and event workers, emergency professionals, and government agencies for an initial introduction to the ACRA method followed by live mapping and discussion in facilitated groups. Participants leave with outreach materials through which they and their networks can update and use the co-created maps.

Want to talk further?

Arts and Cultural Resilience Asset Mapping is an initiative of Majestic Collaborations. Contact us if you're interested in learning more about this process or would like us to bring an ACRA mapping workshop to your community.

Powered by Majestic CollaborationsMajestic Collaborations is a trusted community partner with leadership expertise in arts resilience work, grant administration, and training that prioritize sustainability, safety, community engagement, and accessibility. Majestic Collaborations is also viewed as a leader in the national arts preparedness community due to their extensive teaching, both online and through an experiential learning program called the Art of Mass Gatherings (AOMG).