Community – based intangible cultural heritage inventorying capacity building workshop, Maseru (Lesotho) 14 – 20 February 2010Workshop sponsored by the UNESCO/Flanders Trust Fund and organized in cooperation with the Lesotho UNESCO National Commission and the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture of Lesotho
The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aims at safeguarding living heritage. Unlike tangible heritage that is conventionally managed by heritage experts (e.g., architects, archaeologists, and conservators), Intangible Cultural Heritage requires a participatory approach to safeguarding involving various stakeholders, most important of whom are the communities concerned. Among the obligations of States Parties to the Convention, the one that is expressed in strongest language is the duty to elaborate one or more inventories of the intangible heritage present on their territories with the participation of the communities concerned. An effective strategy to ensure the active participation of communities in the implementation of the Convention is to have them inventory their own Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The project, composed of four phases, is to conduct a series of pilot Intangible Cultural Heritage inventory-making activities on a grassroots level in six Sub-Saharan African countries, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, Swaziland and Zambia. Six pilot communities (one in each country) will be selected in a demand-driven manner. This initial training workshop in Lesotho, will be followed by similar ones in other countries and subsequently continued through several months of fieldwork in each country separately by the communities and cultural officers to inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage. Follow-up sessions will be organized to evaluate the quality of exercises and improve methodologies.
The project is timely and necessary considering that the strengthening of capacities for establishing inventories in Member States is one of the expected results of the UNESCO Major Programme IV: Safeguarding living heritage, particularly through the promotion and implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Through the project, it is expected that national authorities together with communities would be able to devise cost-effective tools and methodologies to inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage which may serve in the future as a model for nation-wide Intangible Cultural Heritage inventorying exercises. The project is expected to assist the beneficiary countries in safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in line with the Convention.
The project is backed up by UNESCO Secretariat in Paris as well as the Culture programme staff in the cluster offices in Harare, Nairobi and Windhoek.