Museums and Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage – Facilitating Participation and Strengthening their Function in Society
The duality of the nature of heritage - celebrated at the same time for its universal value and for its special meaning and its significance for local and bearer communities - represents a challenge for its safeguarding and its presentation by museums. Heritage as a universal, global value has been the predominant approach in international cultural policy-setting since the second half of the twentieth century, but its significance to local and bearer communities is now increasingly well understood. This duality has been particularly challenging with regard to implementing UNESCO’s International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage(2003). With the adoption of this treaty, the policy - and law-making - paradigm has shifted from valuing monuments, sites, artefacts and other objects, to safeguarding a living heritage that is primarily located in the skills, knowledge and know-how of contemporary human beings. With regard to the role of museums in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), a document of great significance is the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Societyadopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015. This is an innovative document that recognises not onlythe great importance of the preservation, study and transmission of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, for all societies, social cohesion and sustainable development, but also the central role that can be played by museums in helping to achieve this. Recently, the potential of cultural heritage has increasingly been acknowledged in international policy - and law-making - as a social, cultural and, at times, economic resource for communities, in particular the intangible heritage. Moreover, international law has now called for a greater democratisation of the heritage protection paradigm, in particular through community participation in its identification, safeguarding and management. This article examines the aforementioned shift from an emphasis on global to local heritage and the role museums can play in this with regard to safeguarding intangible aspects of heritage.
global heritage, local heritage, bearer communities, community participation, museums and ICH, 2015 Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society
BLAKE, Janet (2018) "Museums and Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage – Facilitating Participation and Strengthening their Function in Society". In International Journal of Intangible Heritage, Vol. 13. 18-32. [online] Available at: http://www.ijih.org/fileDown.down?filePath=13/dtl/273310f9-8df9-42df-a0ae-01dbecd9a3ea&fileName=Intangible+Heritage+vol+13+(Museums+and+Safeguarding+ICH).pdf&contentType=volumeDtl&downFileId=701&fileType=PDF&type=pdf [Accessed 09/07/2018]