CfP: Heritage, beyond materiality: intangible cultural heritage, collaborative methodologies and imaginations of the future

Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit your paper proposals to the panel ‘Heritage, beyond materiality: intangible cultural heritage, collaborative methodologies and imaginations of the future ‘(P063). The panel is part of the Royal Anthropological Institute
(RAI)’s conference, The Art, Materiality and Representation, which will take place between the 1st and the 3rd of June 2018 at the British Museum, Clore Centre and SOAS, Senate
House.

The panel discusses the ways in which Intangible Cultural Heritage is defined, shaped and recognised by communities, researchers and policy-makers and the collaborations and creative (or not) frictions between them at local, national and international levels. Below you can find a more detailed overview of the panel and its scope.

 

 

Abstract:

This panel explores the relationship between Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), collaborative methodologies and local identity construction. The analytical drive of this panel is that of looking at ideas of heritage not only through museum representation but through the practices themselves: the ways in which the ‘immaterial’ itself is constitutive of local and international representations of identity and belonging. Therefore, a central focus point is the shaping and understanding of ICH on a local level: the ways in which ICHs are defined, shaped and recognised by communities, local and interventional.

A second aim of the panel is to better understand the collaborative relationships embedded within ICH knowledge-making in connection with the collaborative (and, at times, conflictual) relationships between the former and the practices of defining them as ICH.

We therefore invite papers that engage critically with the ways in which ICHs are defined, shaped and reshaped locally, as well as with the political implications of these processes. Some questions to be explore can be: What are the consequences of economic and other forms of ‘crisis’ regarding ICH? How do members of local communities themselves shape the discourse surrounding practices and knowledge deemed as ICH as well as the forms of participation in ICH policy-making? Finally, can ICH be a platform through which a broader, global connection is established between communities sharing similar practices?

We welcome both theoretical and ethnographic studies of ICH, with a particular focus placed on collaboration between local communities, researchers and policy-makers.

*The Call for Papers is now open. It closes on 8 January 2018.*

All proposals must be sent via the online form that can be found on the
panel page: http://nomadit.co.uk/rai/events/rai2018/conferencesuite.php/panels/6120

Proposals should consist of a paper title, a (very) short abstract of 300
characters and an abstract of 250 words. On submission the proposal, the
proposing author will receive automated email confirming receipt. If you do
not receive this email, please first check the login environment (click
login on the left on the conference website) to see if your proposal is
there. If it is, it simply means confirmation got spammed or lost; and if
it is not, it means you need re-submit, as process went wrong somewhere.

Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the Call for papers.
Decisions on the papers proposed will be communicated by 20 January 2018.
If you have any questions about the panel or the submission process, please do not hesitate to contact one of the panel convenors below

Many thanks,
The convenors

 

Raluca Roman (University of St Andrews), rr44@st-andrews.ac.uk

Panas Karampampas (EHESS), p.karampampas@ehess.fr

When research impacts governance unintentionally

By Simone Toji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In being simultaneously an official responsible for the national intangible cultural heritage policy in São Paulo/ Brazil and a researcher of the UNESCO frictions project, some activities I get involved may gain unexpected developments.

Because one of the main questions in the project refers to the problem of scales, I began by observing the intangible cultural heritage policies at the municipal and state level in São Paulo.

In Brazil, cities and states are autonomous bodies that together with the federal government compose the Federative Republic of Brazil. In this way, cities and states have their own executive, legislative and legal branches, which are concurrent to and, to a certain extent, independent from the federal government.

In the case of the intangible cultural heritage, cities and states in Brazil are creating their own intangible cultural heritage initiatives.

Historically, the Brazilian federal government, through its Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN), was the first to establish an intangible cultural heritage policy with national scope in 2000. Since then, numerous cities and states in Brazil have been tailoring their own local and regional policies.

The city of São Paulo and the state of São Paulo are examples of this tendency. Both of them approved legislation towards intangible cultural heritage in 2007 and 2011 respectively.

In order to understand how intangible cultural heritage policies were being developed at the state and municipal levels, I requested access to materials and files at the organisations appointed to implement the mentioned policies. The Departamento do Patrimônio Histórico (DPH) works on the municipal level, while the Unidade de Preservação  do Patrimônio Histórico (UPPH), on the state one.

My visits to learn from the documents of these two organisations raised the interest from DPH’s and UPPH’s directors and officials for establishing a partnership with IPHAN, as I am an IPHAN’s civil servant too. Staff from both organisations believes that IPHAN has a more consolidated intangible cultural heritage policy and assume that they can gain expertise from IPHAN’s experience.

For IPHAN, this can be an opportunity to discuss cultural heritage policies as a system of collaboration and possible distribution of responsibilities in the field of intangible cultural heritage governance.

The convergence of all these interests led to the installation of a work group on intangible cultural heritage in São Paulo on the 3rd of August 2017 under an agreement between IPHAN, DPH and UPPH, comprising officials from the three organisations.

This repercussion provides some food for thought. An UNESCO frictions project’s research activity – gathering documentation – resulted in the administrative decision of establishing collaboration between the three governmental organisations responsible for intangible cultural heritage policies at different levels in the national governance scale. As I am one of the appointed officials to participate in the work group as IPHAN representative, being at the same time a researcher in the UNESCO frictions project as well, some questions emerge:

  • Can my research abilities contribute to provide good and feasible proposals for the work group?
  • Can the experiences at the work group offer opportunities to observe phenomena on the topic of scales that otherwise would not be available?
  • At what points are the positions of official and researcher convergent or divergent?
  • Can my colleagues in the work group become research partners?

These will be some interrogations to be faced from now on by me and the work group.

 

Conference on “Agro-food Traditions as Cultural Heritage: Research, Safeguarding, Promotion” at the Agricultural University of Athens, Athens 19/05/2017

Last week,  the conference on  “Agro-food Traditions as Cultural Heritage: Research, Safeguarding, Promotion” took place at the Conference Lecture Theatre of the Agricultural University of Athens. The event was organised by the Directorate of Modern Cultural Assets and Intangible Cultural Heritage (DMCA&ICH) of the Ministry of Culture and Sport in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Athens. The conference attracted many local producers as well as academics and students (undergraduates and postgraduates) from the Department of Science of Nutrition and Dietetics (Harokopio University), MA in Folklore and Education of the Department of Primary Education (University of Athens), MA in Folklore Studies-Theory and Application of the Folk Culture of the School of Philosophy (University of Athens) and from the Agricultural University of Athens.

The slide reads: Pastoral festivities – Pig-slaughterhouses

The conference became a meeting point to bring closer academia, cultural administrators and decision makers relevant to Agro-food ICH (DMCA&ICH, the Ministry of Agriculture, and museums), producers and students. Most of the presentations highlighted Greek Agro-food products without showing how are they are also part of a local Intangible Cultural Heritage. However, this made the need for interdisciplinary collaboration apparent and it was discussed during the workshops that began after the end of the main presentations. During one of the parallel workshops entitled “Research and Promoting of the local Agro-food Traditions”, various successful collaborations of folklore researchers with agro-food scientists were presented. This acted as a guide for future successful collaborations and as a prime example of how agro-food Traditions can be understood as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Workshop: “Presentation of European and Local Programmes and Policies that are related to the Promotion and the Funding of Proposals for the Recognition of the Agro-food Traditions as Intangible Cultural Heritage”

The other parallel workshop was entitled “Presentation of European and Local Programmes and Policies that are related to the Promotion and the Funding of Proposals for the Recognition of the Agro-food Traditions as Intangible Cultural Heritage”. The centre of the discussions was the possibilities and the procedures that entrepreneurs and organisations have to follow in order to attain funding successfully. However, funding and sustainability were topics that were discussed or mentioned numerously in the conference and not only to this workshop since it was one of the main concerns of the audience.At the end of the conference, representatives of the DMCA&ICH made an open call towards the audience: “we would like to give an opportunity to the students and other specialised scientists to become Cultural Brokers {mentioned both in English and in Greek}” between the holders of Agro-food Traditions and the policy makers. They also explained that their intention “is to open the field of folklore to the public (δημόσια Λαογραφία)” and they are keen to support every individual or organisation that is interested in engaging in the field of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The complete programme of the conference (in Greek) can be found on the website of the DMCA&ICH: http://ayla.culture.gr/?p=773

Intangible Cultural Heritage “Information and Awareness Raising Event”, Nestáni, Peloponnese 22/4/2017

Interview of the Director of DMCA&ICH to a journalist of the National Television Channel. On the left, a visual anthropologist was recording the event.

One day before the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’ (το εθίμου του Αγιώργη), the most important event of the year for the Nestánians, the Intangible Cultural Heritage “Information and Awareness Raising Event” took place at Nestáni, a village of 669 permanent residents (2011 National consensus). Despite the rainy and cold spring weather, the room that the event took place was crowded by the locals, politicians and the media (including press from the National television channel) (pictures 1 & 2).

The event was co-organised by the Directorate of Modern Cultural Assets and Intangible Cultural Heritage (DMCA&ICH) of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, The Administrative Region of Peloponnese, the Municipality of Tripolis, the Nestáni Progressive Association and the Nestáni Association for the Support of Local Customs and Research. The first aim of the event was “the presentation of the [2003] Convention for the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the possibilities that offer to the local communities for the study, safeguarding and the promotion of their ICH” (http://ayla.culture.gr/?p=757). As in most Information and Awareness Raising Events, Ms Villy Fotopoulou, the Director of DMCA&ICH, opened the floor and explained the 2003 Convention to the audience.

The second aim was the discussion and safeguarding of the annual ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’ and its potential inscription on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory. In contrast to the last Information and Awareness Raising Event that conducted in Crete (https://frictions.hypotheses.org/349), in Nestáni the speakers were the local MPs, the presidents of the cultural associations, the priest and the president of the village and other political figures. All the speakers highlighted the importance of the inscription of the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’. Some of the speakers focused on the “amount of cultural heritage that exists in the village”, while others talked about the custom or how the village will be recognised by its inscription. When the speakers finished, the audience left satisfied discussing their ‘customs’ and the future inscription of the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’ on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory.

The local priest

After the end of the event, some villagers stayed behind with representatives of one of the cultural associations which contribute on the organisation of the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’. A heated debate broke out arguing if a horse would participate in the Custom since it is a newer addition to it. Although the horse was added some years ago and no one opposed to it, that time the Custom would be recorded as part of an ethnographic documentary. Some of the villagers wanted to “preserve it in its authentic way, as it was done at the times of our mothers and grandfathers”. The rest of the villagers were arguing for the dynamic aspects of the tradition, but no agreement came between them. The convener of the discussion invited the representatives if the DMCA&ICH to give a solution. The representatives explained to the villagers that they have no right to decide for their traditions while they reinforce the idea that the traditions are dynamic and they are changing and evolve as time passes. The time passed, and the villagers left without knowing what would happen the next day. When the morning came, the ‘frictions’ continued, and the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’ took place with even more changes than the last year since the villagers tried to do their best to safeguard it against the others who had a different interpretation of safeguarding.

A brief video which shows parts of the ‘Custom of Ágios Nikólas’: https://youtu.be/7ARPXf2n8cw?t=2m13s

Intangible Cultural Heritage “Information and Awareness Raising Event”, Agios Nikolaos, Crete 5/4/2017

Working on the UNESCO Frictions project, I attend Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) related events in Greece. This event was organised by the Directorate of Modern Cultural Assets and Intangible Cultural Heritage (DMCA&ICH) of the Ministry of Culture and Sport in collaboration with the Region of Crete – Lasithi Regional Unity and with the support of the Cultural Associations of the Prefecture of Lasithi.

“The event [was] addressed to local authorities of Eastern Crete (municipalities, development companies, etc.), national and cultural associations and local folklore, historical and other museums and archives of the island, as well as those involved in the recording and study of the folk culture and traditions of Crete, but also to anyone interested in it.

On Wednesday 5/4/2017 [they had] the opportunity to discuss the various aspects of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Eastern Crete, the possibilities offered by the [2003] Convention for the promotion of these cultural traditions and their use for the benefit of the sustainable development of the local communities.” (DMCA&ICH website)

The locals replied to the invitation arriving from much earlier to the room and very soon many people were standing at the back since all the chairs were full. The event began with the Director of DMCA&ICH, Ms Villy Fotopoulou, presenting the 2003 Convention as well as how the DMCA&ICH implements the Convention. Soon after representatives of local ‘communities’ who are preparing a submission or already submitted an element to the DMCA&ICH for inscription on the National ICH lists, presented their work. This provided an example to other ‘communities’ on how to collaborate in order to also draft their own nominations for the inscription of their cultural elements on the National Inventory of the ICH. A few other presenters followed an alternative strategy and presented the actual elements and not the nomination procedure. The audience welcomed both presentation formats and stayed until the end of the event which closed with a brief discussion of the audience with the presenters.

This event was an opportunity for me to come in contact with Cretan cultural associations that engage with the implementation of the Convention. This first contact has already shown some ‘frictions’ between the various interpretations of the Convention by the various participants. These frictions will be explored further in following posts as the Greek part of the research project will start to unfold.