This past summer, Tap Legacy co-founder Andrew Nemr spoke at the TED Resident’s Salon, the final event for the inaugural class of TED Residents. Each resident presented an idea that was central to their project. While working on development of the Tap Legacy Digital Archive during the residency, Andrew’s talk, presented while he tap danced, centered around the idea of tap dance as oral tradition. Andrew shared personal stories, the unique attributes of oral traditions, the challenges oral traditions like tap dance face during times of cultural shift, and a possible solution.
Oral traditions are rooted in cultural identity, the stories of a people, and the traditions, activities, and rituals that embody those stories. Institutional support is primarily designed for preservation, not the support of an ongoing oral tradition. However, during times of cultural shift the continuity of unsupported oral traditions can be endangered. Tap Legacy™ has been working on a solution that would fill the gap between well established institutions and a community’s oral traditions.
At the end of his talk, Andrew unveiled a prototype of the Tap Legacy Digital Archive platform. Developed in collaboration with Michael Thibault, the platform will feature timeline, graphic data visualization, and community engagement functionality. The prototype is a working model that envisions all the functionality of the Digital Archive currently in development.