European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018 Information Event (Athens, 18/12/2017)

The Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage (DMCH) organised the Cultural Heritage Information Event in order to inform about the European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018 cultural associations, the local governance and institutions working on tourism, “traditional agro-food producers”, environmental education centres and other heritage-related institutions. There, the DMCH informed the attendees about i) what the European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018 is, ii) the procedure of how heritage related organisation could incorporate their events and activities in the schedule of the activities of the European Year for Cultural Heritage 2018 and be allowed to use its logo, and iii) how the institutions could collaborate with DMCH in the valorisation of Intangible Cultural Heritage through these activities.

The event attracted many representatives of Intangible Cultural Heritage institutions which have inscribe an element on (Greek) National list of Intangible Cultural Heritage as well as others who are working towards the inscriptions of an element. The audience had many questions and was keen to receive the European Year for Cultural Heritage as it was seen as a way to disseminate their activities, help the safeguarding of their element and possibly attract some economic capital that will be ‘invested’ in safeguarding activities.

It was an event which the UNESCO Friction project was present looking at the ways that the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage could crossover with European policies and their implementation. 2018 will be a very active year in Europe that discussions about Cultural Heritage will reemerge and the UNESCO Friction project will continue to analyse the creative frictions which will arise from the crossovers of transnational policies with National ones as well as with practices of the local actors.

12 COM Jeju Island, Republic of Korea

During the twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 39 elements have been inscribed on the Unesco Lists. The inscription of the “Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’” on the Representative List generated considerable media attention. Some members of the “community” were present at the meeting in Korea. Representatives of the Associazione pizzaiuoli napoletani and Associazione verace pizza napoletana included some of the Australian, Japanese and Korean members of these associations.


NGO Capacity Building Workshop










Jeju, Korea 1-3 December 2017

NGOs accredited to the ICH Convention build their capacities in the field of ICH safeguarding. For three days they have been engaging in brainstorming, role plays, presentations, film screenings, world cafe….

Fully aware of the growing role they play in the Convention, they reflected on their relationship to states and “communities”, on their roles in the implementation of the Convention and on the dilemmas of wearing different hats.

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.