My research focuses on heritage as an internal resource for community resilience. The research will examine ways in which cultural creative practices engender community resilience in Lamu Island in the context of socioeconomic change. The communities around Lamu are experiencing significant social and economic destabilization due to urbanization and restricting of economic infrastructure upon which their livelihood is founded. Little is known about whether rural cultural-based economies can foster networks, develop social capital, and build synergy to across boundaries to shift their cultural practices toward becoming self-resilient. This study will therefore endeavours to analyze how traditional ideas contributes to creativity and strategies used by the community to cope with the new constraints imposed upon them by the current infrastructural development projects in Lamu. Many residents view this new development with misgivings due to its foreseen outcomes which include social dislocation, loss of livelihood, loss of trading linkages, loss of heritage, and fear of social exclusion. The research will address these current concerns by investigating how the cultural creativity can sustain an adequate design for a living especially during this period of rapid social change, local perceptions of social economic changes, ways in which the practices act as a tool to organize great enterprise or benefit from any opportunities that the change comes with and how these cultural practices find new meanings to their changing social experience. The study proposes deploying various ethnographic techniques which include, but not limited to, participant observation, as well as gathering of oral testimonies.

Institution: University of Roehampton

Supervisor: Garry Marvin

Area of study: Anthropology