To gather ideas for how to build unique "cultural routes" for Taiwan, the Ministry of Culture held a workshop on Dec. 24 with organizations long concerned about the development of Taiwan's history and culture, community empowerment, and other related issues. The meeting was held at a time when "cultural routes" have emerged as a trend in the cultural preservation projects of many countries.
Participants of the workshop primarily focused on topics relating to the North-South Light Rail System supervised by Taiwan Sugar Railways, the Alishan Forest Railway, Taiwan's tea culture, and revitalization of historical sites. Exchanges were also conducted on their international experiences in cultural route projects and opinions on how to push forward with Taiwan's multipronged "cultural routes" plan.
Vice Minister of Culture Lee Lien-chuan (李連權) explained that the Ministry plans to establish cultural routes to promote TaiSugar's light rails and Taiwan's tea culture sites. These routes will serve as operational models as reference for other similar projects, given that Taiwan's railway and tea heritage are public issues closely connected to the lives of the general public, Lee added.
All routes, he noted, should be combined with a cultural theme and perspective based on local culture and history that can underscore the cultural significance and hidden qualities of the featured historical buildings, artifacts, crafts and performance skills, and creative works. The goal is for these routes to become a part of people's daily lives through development, usage, and experience, Vice Minister Lee concluded.
The Ministry hopes to work with the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Ministry of Education, and regional governments on cultural route projects, given that preserving and developing these routes requires resources and assistance from all agencies involved.
For instance, inter-governmental effort will be required for establishing a tea route that integrates regional tea industries, tea-related craft arts, and revitalization of associated sites. Such a project will also be dependent on local organizations and residents for stringing together related historic and contemporary figures, events, cultural assets, and local landscapes for the cultural route to develop sustainably and organically in the long run.