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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Building a Festival Web Site: An Uncommon Collaboration
Kimberly Freeman, The Silk Road Project, Inc., USA
John Gordy, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Session: Not Just Virtual

The Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (www.folklife.si.edu) , the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (www.asia.si.edu), and the Silk Road Project (www.silkroadproject.org) collaborated to produce a Web site documenting the 2002 Folklife Festival which brought together the arts, music, and traditions of the Silk Road for over 1.3 million visitors on the National Mall in D.C. Although a foundation was laid ahead of time, the Web site was constructed on-site in a trailer as the Festival unfolded, taking in and responding to the textures, sounds, events, energy, and people that comprised the event.

Building a festival site while the Festival unfolded left little room for error. But producing the site during and within the Festival brought vibrancy and immediacy that would not have been possible had the site been fully designed before the event began. The Web site was thus part of the live event, influenced and inspired by the colors of silk, sounds of music, smells of foods. As videographers and photographers documented events, pages were designed, coded, and launched.

The festival brought people together from around the world. We freely and openly shared knowledge, ideas, and resources becoming an example of collaborative exchange that the Silk Road symbolizes.