Sub-regional Capacity-Building Workshop on the Implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage


Group 3: Research, Collecting, Inventorying, Documenting



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Group 3: Research, Collecting, Inventorying, Documenting




Recherche et documentation pour la sauvegarde du PCI

  • Recherche

  • Documentation

Research and documentation as safeguarding

  • Research

  • Documentation

Among the safeguarding measures enumerated in the Convention, research and documentation are likely to be among the first strategies that States will consider. With regard to intangible cultural heritage (ICH), research aims at better understanding a given element of ICH, its history, meanings, artistic and aesthetic features, social, cultural and economic functions, practice, modes of transmission, and the dynamics of its creation and re-creation [inter alia]. Research is conducted systematically and progressively. Documentation consists of recording ICH in tangible forms, in its current state, and collecting documents that relate to it. Documentation often involves the use of various recording means and formats. The collected documents are often preserved in libraries, archives or web sites, where they may be consulted by the communities concerned and the larger public. But communities and groups also have traditional forms of documentation such as songbooks or sacred texts, weaving samplers or pattern books, or icons and images that constitute recordings of ICH expressions and knowledge. Research and documentation may be considered as safeguarding measures under the Convention when they aim at ensuring the viability of the ICH concerned. Innovative community self-documentation efforts and programmes to repatriate or disseminate archival documents in order to encourage continued creativity are some of the proven safeguarding strategies increasingly being used.


Group 3: Research, Collecting, Inventorying, Documenting (cont’d)


Reconnaissance, identification, définition et inventaires

  • Reconnaissance

  • Identification

  • Définition

  • Inventaires

Recognition, identification, definition and inventories

  • Recognition

  • Identification

  • Definition

  • Inventories

An inventory of intangible cultural heritage (ICH), such as a multimedia database or a publication, is a result of a systematic process of identifying and [defining] [documenting] ICH. For the purposes of the Convention, each State Party shall draw up and regularly update one or more inventories of ICH present in its territory. This ICH must be recognized by the communities, groups or, where appropriate, individuals concerned as belonging to their cultural heritage, and must be identified and defined with their participation. Recognition is a formal or, more often, informal process by which they acknowledge that specific practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills and, if appropriate, associated instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces, form part of their cultural heritage. Identification is the process of describing one or more specific elements of intangible heritage in their own context and distinguishing them from others. Each community—and each State—may choose to make broader or narrower distinctions among elements, and there is no single “correct” or objective basis for identifying intangible heritage. If identifying offers a brief description of an intangible heritage element, defining provides the fullest possible description of it at a specific point in time. The processes of identification and definition that result in an inventory are the obligation of States and may be carried out, under the responsibility of States, by individuals and competent bodies, public or private, but always with the participation of communities, groups, individuals and relevant nongovernmental organizations.

Group 4: Promotion, Presentation, Recognition




Sensibilisation, promotion et visibilité

  • Sensibilisation

  • Visibilité

  • Promotion

  • Diffusion d’information

  • Mise en valeur

Awareness-raising, promotion and visibility

  • Awareness-raising

  • Visibility

  • Promotion

  • Information programmes

  • Enhancement

Awareness-raising is a way of encouraging concerned parties to recognize the value of intangible heritage and to take the measures necessary to ensure its viability, and is never an end in itself. The State, the media, educators, the private sector, cultural custodians or other groups can all play a role in awareness-raising. A primary means to raise awareness is to provide increased visibility to intangible heritage—particularly in mass media and official cultural institutions with the participation of communities concerned—so as to stimulate greater respect and concern for it. Within communities, members may take their heritage for granted, and awareness-raising activities may encourage them to appreciate it more deeply. If communities, groups and individuals have the opportunity to see their own heritage represented with integrity on mass media, in festivals and in their education systems, such visibility can help to promote its viability. Raising awareness within communities—and especially their younger members—is often a precondition for their active involvement in safeguarding measures. For policy-makers and the general public, awareness-raising may encourage them to take intangible heritage more seriously and to devote the necessary resources or create the favourable conditions for its safeguarding. Promotion and enhancement are two important tools for awareness-raising that aim at increasing the value attached to heritage in different communities rather than altering, improving or “perfecting” its expressions or practices themselves. Promotion means drawing public attention, in a positive way, to aspects of ICH [Glossary definition of “Promotion”]. Enhancement means promoting the status and importance of intangible heritage within its community and the broader society; it does not mean, for instance, adding new features to an element, refining it, or modifying it from within (for instance, in folklorization).
Group 4: Promotion, Presentation, Recognition (cont’d)


Reconnaissance et respect

  • Prise de conscience

  • Reconnaissance

  • Respect

  • Mise en valeur

Recognition and respect

  • Awareness

  • Recognition

  • Respect

  • Promotion / enhancement

Respect for intangible cultural heritage entails understanding its importance and value in its cultural context and appreciating its role in the community concerned. The viability of living heritage is threatened when it is ignored or undervalued by the public at large, in political, educational or religious discourse, or by community members themselves. Mutual respect and respect for ICH afford a means and a framework for its flourishing and continuity and have thus been included among the purposes of the Convention. In this context, the general recognition and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage consist in ensuring that communities, groups and individuals are represented with respect (for example, in the media and in education), and in creating the conditions to enable them to be so represented. Awareness of the cultural, social and historic importance of the ICH, of its varied functions and of its significance as a source of inspiration and creativity must be developed to ensure that ICH is valued, in addition to being presented or represented in a respectful manner. It is all the more important to stress the potential of ICH when encouraging the youngest members of the community to follow in the elders’ footsteps.





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