Design Activity For Traditional Culture Preservation


In this article, the author justifies the relevance of sociocultural projects in the context of key problems of regional cultural space and the main directions of regional cultural policy. In particular, attention is drawn to the difficult situation of traditional culture. The problem of preserving intangible cultural heritage is solved by state cultural institutions and is expressed in the implementation of state programs, in strategic directions of cultural policy. The main message of such programs is the broadcasting of texts of traditional culture, propaganda, the maximum popularization of traditional culture in the media and at concert venues. Another instrument that creates conditions for the preservation of traditional culture is non-governmental organizations. The object of the study of this article is social and cultural projects in the field of traditional culture, implemented by government institutions, the design based on government-private partnership. The author presents own project, justifies the relevance of the project, identifies the target audience, proposes a project implementation plan and possible risks. The methodological basis of the article is research in the field of traditional culture, regional cultural policy. The empirical base is the author’s own professional experience as the initiator of the cycle of television music educating “Learn More” programs. The project is aimed at the preservation of cultural monuments. The main message of the project reflects the imperatives of regional cultural policy and is aimed at the revival of spiritual values, representing an organic connection of the spiritual and cultural substrate with traditional Islam.

Keywords: Culturecultural policycultural design


Dagestan is a unique multiethnic region of Russia. An attention to the cultural heritage of each Dagestan autochthons is an imperative of regional cultural policy; traditional culture retains its originality and intrinsic value, despite the transformational processes of globalization.

In the context of globalization challenges, the significance of ethno-identity in cultural traditions, the uniqueness of achievements in cultural traditions of people is forgotten.

Modern researchers note that globalization “gives rise to new demarcation lines, new localities that no longer coincide with traditional ones - local, regional, national, ethnic, etc.” (Tiantsi, 2017, p. 244).

The problem of preserving traditional culture is aggravated due to the fact that the process of urbanization is becoming more active, villages are gradually becoming empty, and traditional culture is irretrievably disappearing with the villagers. It dissolves in the city, acquires new, alien features, which ultimately leads to the depersonalization of the cultural tradition, and in the future - the destruction of the cultural code. Researchers of globalization processes mark such a “scenario” as universal for all ethnic cultures forced to be integrated into the world cultural space (Appadurai, 1996; Huntington, 1996; Lloréns, 1999; Robertson, 1992, 1995).

In the discourse on the compatibility of cultures of small nations with the process of cultural globalization, “the disappearance of indigenous peoples is associated with the destruction of the traditional way of life, specific cultural configurations or individual characteristics (for example, language) corresponding to a specific ethnic group” (Kuropiatnik, 2016, p. 469). In this situation, the issue of preserving the traditional culture, its various forms, existing as a legacy, is actualized.

As a rule, regional culture is closely connected with ethno-national cultures in the local aspect and globally - with the culture of the whole country. Therefore, a regional culture is a kind of conglomerate of ethnic cultures that are relevant to the territory, entering into the process of interethnic communication and having equal opportunities for the preservation and development. In the context of regional culture, ethnically diverse elements of cultures are integrated, having the possibility of interethnic interaction within the local space, which means the implementation of a multicultural unity model in practice.

The space of the region has unique features that are formed through the peculiarities of natural landscape, holy places, regional relics, ethnic cultural identities. There is a formation of a special culture - regional, which begins to exist, gradually standing out from the general world of Russian culture, but not breaking with it at all (Khlyshcheva, 2008).

The ethnic diversity, specificity of Dagestan material culture are reflected in folk art. The ethnic multiplicity of Dagestan has determined the territorial distribution of types of decorative and applied art: carpet weaving - in South Dagestan (Lezgians, Tabasarans), pottery production - in Balkhara (Laks), jewelry production - Kubachi (Dargins), decorative metal wood notch - Untsukul (Avars) and etc.; traditional applied and decorative crafts. In general, folk art works broadcast ethnic identity, preserving the integrity of the cultural code of Dagestan peoples. Musical folklore includes two large layers autonomously developing in the space of traditional culture: song and dance folklore and sacred religious music (Abdulaeva, 2013).

The preservation and development of unique cultural complexes of ethnic groups and regions of the country is recognized as necessary at all social levels, since it ultimately contributes not only to the development of national identity, but also to the expansion of the cultural horizon of each individual. However, in modern world, there is a clear tendency to erasing cultural boundaries, mixing styles, genres, motives and symbols in a wide variety of forms. Both Russian and world society “grew” from its roots, moving from industrial to post-industrial with a new cultural system of coordinates, which is just beginning to take shape, while traditional culture loses its original meaning, but does not completely disappear, enriching the historical memory and spiritual potential of the nation. They need to be updated, adapted to modern conditions to preserve traditions, for which government, public organizations, associations and individual enthusiasts are constantly looking for sources and original forms.

Problem Statement

An important component of the ethnocultural identity of Dagestan peoples is the tradition that imperatively defines mental and identification dominants of the Dagestanis. Traditional culture transmits the accumulated human values, based on public opinion, mass habits, common taste. Nevertheless, the globalization processes, urbanization, and mass culture have led to certain problems of the sociocultural environment in the Republic of Dagestan. Reducing the level of population artistic culture; the lack of demand for the potential of professional art, traditional folk culture as a means of artistic personal development; expansion of mass culture; destruction of the authenticity of folklore as a result of its stage processing, transferring to an unusual environment for it; loss of forms and traditions of oral folk art are among them.

Tishkov (2013), discussing the current sociocultural status of the republics of the North Caucasus, called the destruction and erosion of folk traditions as the main reasons for blocking the development of the region, which led to the loss of cultural identity and psychological comfort: “The main task that objectively faces the political elite of the North Caucasian republics is the adaptation of modernization processes to historical memory, to cultural traditions and standards, without which people cannot imagine their existence” (Tishkov, 2013, p. 50).

Sushchii (2013) speaking about sociocultural dynamics of the North Caucasus region determined the ethnocultural tradition as an effective practice of survival under extreme conditions and a historically developed complex method of ethnic self-preservation.

Researchers note that it is possible to manage the processes of cultural dynamics through cultural policy in the context of complex social systems. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of this culture, “focusing on the laws of its development and guided by the principles of gradualness, organicity and consistency with the civilizational specificity” (Kostina & Gudima, 2010, p. 38). The leading role in the regional cultural policy of the republic of Dagestan is decided by the creation of a cultural environment, which is not only the territory of different cultural interactions, but also as Flier (2013), a native culture specialist indicates, a special space of “social rituals, social mimesis, valuable-hierarchical system of social concepts” (par. 1).

The modern approach to the development of regional cultural policy should be aimed primarily at the specifics of the historical development of the region, established traditions, national and religious differences; the development of infrastructure, including cultural institutions, the media; human resources in its connection with the national historical and cultural characteristics of the region. The regional policy aimed at the formation of a common civil identity through the actualization of the institution of tradition and the modernization of sociocultural environment is the basis of national security. Under the conditions of modern sociocultural transformations for the Republic of Dagestan, the leading directions of cultural policy are the development of state programs and cultural and educational projects aimed at intercultural interaction, preserving traditional culture, actualizing cultural heritage in the system of values of modern Dagestanis. The support of traditional culture is connected with the need to preserve historical memory and cultural specificity, it is necessary because it actually provides, through the system of cultural and educational institutions, the unity of those meanings that give the state stability.

Currently, cultural practices aimed at broadcasting and preservation of culture are becoming popular. The actual and relevant time is the way of video recording of monuments of intangible cultural heritage and the creation of documentaries, the main character of which is a culture carrier living in the original, native territory. Such films belong to the genre of anthropological cinema.

Scientists and researchers convincingly argue that visual anthropology has become an effective means of capturing the life of passing cultures - national and ethnographic (Ilbeikina, 2013). The main content of such films is a reliable representation of the artifact or cultural activities and the ability to match themselves with it. Center for Visual Anthropology of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Laboratory of Cultural and Visual Anthropology of Perm State University, A.V. Golovnev (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS) and others deal with issues of cinema etnography in domestic practice.

Ethnographic films, which are essentially visual studies, not only allow demonstrating the cultural uniqueness of the region, but also forming the information support of the ethnographic collections of national museums, and generally creating the basis for studying the symbolic resources of modern society.

Research Questions

To date, we have certain experience in the creation of television programs on the traditional culture of Dagestan peoples. In the early 2000s, the editorial board of music programs of the State Television and Radio Company “Dagestan” prepared a series of TV films “Learn more” (author of the project is Z.K. Iliasova). The purpose of “Learn More” TV movie cycle is enlightenment; the concept is based on fixing authentic song-dance folklore of Dagestan peoples in mono-ethnic territorial formations of the republic. Several series of the “Learn more” cycle are devoted to the traditional culture of the peoples inhabiting Akushinsky, Agulsky, Levashinsky and other districts of the Republic of Dagestan. We have videotaped the rituals of the family cycle and episodes of everyday life, recorded conversations with residents of rural settlements. Separate editions of “Learn More” series recorded in a television studio are built on a comparison of samples of authentic song-dance folklore with folklore vocal works presented at variety venues.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is to substantiate the role of the project approach as a mechanism of regional cultural policy aimed at the preservation and transmission of cultural traditions. The task of the work is to define the project mission of “Creating a database of traditional culture of Dagestan peoples”.

Research Methods

In the course of the study, we used a typological method and a method of sociocultural observations, which allowed us to detect trends and parameters of the Arab-Muslim influence on the culture of the region and to compile extensive and diverse empirical material on the sociocultural processes occurring in Dagestan.


Projects in the field of traditional culture can create conditions for the preservation of cultural heritage, and as an organizational and managerial form, projects allow the traditional areas of culture to “fit” into the system of new economic relations (Bulavina, 2007).

Under current conditions, the proposed project of “Creating a database of traditional culture of Dagestan peoples on digital media” is relevant. The project is an independent solution to the local problem of preserving the intangible cultural heritage of Dagestan peoples. The project is addressed to a specific audience - students of secondary schools, children art schools, specialized secondary schools, students. The task, for which the project is aimed, is ensuring the preservation of heritage in the field of traditional culture. The strategic goals for facilitators, to which the project is aimed: preservation of cultural monuments (search, acquisition, documentation, study, restoration and storage of products of cultural creativity); development and active use of cultural heritage in the current space of life.

The product of the project is a database of traditional culture of Dagestan peoples on digital media, on the basis of which documentaries are created in the tradition of visual anthropology.

A group of specialists is formed for the implementation of the project: an operator, a photographer, a musicologist-specialist in the field of ethnic music, a historian-ethnographer, a specialist in video editing. An interactive map of the republic is created, where the areas covered by the video will be recorded. The group travels to one of the designated areas of Dagestan. A video recording of the performance of song-dance folk art samples, family cycle ceremonies, calendar-agricultural cycle ceremonies, sacred-religious ceremonies, video clips about the work of traditional folk culture centers are recorded.

The group lives a week in the area. Then the group moves to the next territorially close area, in which the whole cycle of works is similarly carried out according to the planned list of objects. Recorded material is delivered to Makhachkala, montage of recording is carried out, documentaries on the traditional culture of peoples Dagestan are prepared.

The Structure of Project Product : video recording of the performance of song-dance folk art samples; family domestic ritual videos; video recording of ceremonies of the calendar-agricultural cycle; video recording of sacred-religious rites; videos about the work of centers of traditional folk culture in the municipalities of the republic of Dagestan. Project team: cameraman, sound engineer, photographer, video editing specialist. Project team performs video recording, namely collecting and processing field material and forms the final product that is content of video disks. The consultants of the project are a musicologist-expert in the field of ethnic music; historian-ethnographer. Video recording will be conducted throughout the territory of the Republic of Dagestan, in all municipalities. As a result, a compilation of song-dance folklore of all autochthonous peoples of the republic is made.

Project allowance (assumption) : restriction of the possibility of video filming in some villages of the republic with a predominantly orthodox Muslim population. Refusal of the population of corresponding villages in the demonstration of ritual, choreographic elements of traditional culture due to stable religious imperatives. Response: to collect information on the closest in time religious rituals carried out in this locality; audio recording of the musical component of a religious ceremony. To form a separate section of the project product dedicated to sacred and religious ceremonies on the basis of this material.

Main risks of the project, their assessment, methods of prevention and response:

Refusal in demonstrating family rituals and elements of traditional culture. High probability of attack. High risk level. No prevention methods. Response: to collect information on the closest in time religious rituals carried out in this locality; audio recording of the musical component of a religious ceremony. To form a separate section of the project product dedicated to sacred and religious ceremonies on the basis of this material.

Project targets indicators – database creation and product distribution in educational institutions.

Final project report includes the following sections:

  • A substantive report including information on the project progress and the achievement of goals, data on the number of business trips and their effectiveness, a set of samples of folk music created on digital media.

  • Information on significant changes in the course of project implementation, causes and consequences of changes.

  • Achieved results - qualitative and quantitative results of the project. The number of individuals involved in the project, their professional competence.

  • Financial report with attachment of documents on the expenditure of funds.

  • The impact of the project on the target audience, the expected results of the project in education and culture. Recommendations for the inclusion of project materials in educational process.

  • Information about the project coverage in the media.


Designing in the field of culture belongs to the category of innovative, creative activity, because it involves the transformation of reality, uses technologies implying unification and improvement. With regard to the cultural policy of the Republic of Dagestan, it is important to take into account the relevance of various forms of government-private partnership in the field of culture, attracting extra-budgetary funding from private capital and business structures.

The support of traditional culture is connected with the need to preserve historical memory and cultural specificity. It is necessary because it actually provides the unity of those meanings that give the state stability through the system of cultural and educational institutions. The use of design activity in sociocultural practice is of fundamental importance for regional cultural policy, allowing us to build promising mechanisms, methods and forms of the cultural sphere development.

The mission of “Creating a database of traditional culture of Dagestan peoples on digital media” project is to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of the region. The main message of the project reflects the imperatives of the regional cultural policy, aimed at the revival of spiritual values, transmitting the connection of the spiritual and cultural substrate of Dagestan peoples with the tradition of “moderate” traditional Islam. The strategic goal of the project author is to include the priority directions of development of the republic of Dagestan in the plan for 2020–2021.


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28 December 2019

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Iliasova*, Z. (2019). Design Activity For Traditional Culture Preservation. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1323-1329). Future Academy.