Heritage economies and “sustainable” development as “a way out of the Greek Crisis”
17 January 2018, Eleusina – Greece
Panas Karampampas (École des hautes études en sciences sociales)
During the Greek economic crisis, media circulate many stereotypes that depict Greeks as lazy and refusing to work hard as other Europeans. However, the Greek Ministry of Culture (MoC) considers Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) as a tool to provide a solution to the economic crisis and the negative image of Greece. Based on this, the MoC has created a strategy focusing on the promotion of agro-food products and techniques as well as other traditional crafting techniques by inscribing them on an ICH list (national or international). The aim is that the inscriptions will become leverage for other public mechanisms (such as Erasmus+ funding) that will create new jobs for the communities. Moreover, the inscriptions will enhance the visibility of the communities that practice these ICH elements in order to attract more tourism, and strengthen the commerce and local economy. Furthermore, this also will highlight “the hard work of Greeks” and fight the stereotypes. However, using ICH for to enhance the local economy is a grey zone for UNESCO and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH that is the main framework of MoC regarding ICH. This grey zone creates a space of creative frictions by allowing to the actors many interpretations of the Convention relating to the commercialisation of ICH. Thus, the current economic crisis becomes the motivation for individuals to highlight that Intangible Cultural Heritage can provide ways to overcomes difficulties by designing heritage-centred plans based ideas of (sustainable) development.
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.
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.