Legal and financial instruments for safeguarding our intangible heritage

Deacon, Harriet and Dondolo, L. and Mrubata, M. and Prosalendis, S. (2003) Legal and financial instruments for safeguarding our intangible heritage. In: 14th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Place, memory, meaning: preserving intangible values in monuments and sites’, 27 - 31 October 2003, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

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Intangible heritage consists of the oral traditions, memories, languages, traditional performing arts or rituals, knowledge systems, values and know-how that we want to safeguard and pass on to future generations. Intangible heritage can be recorded in various ways, but it is often not expressed in a permanent physical form. Every performance or expression of intangible heritage is different and significant change is frequent. This makes it very vulnerable to loss, but also very difficult to safeguard using the same legal and financial mechanisms established for heritage places and objects. Various international organizations and national ministries have been working on policies to help identify and safeguard intangible heritage. This paper reviews various instruments to assist INCP-RIPC member states to draft appropriate policies at a national level and contribute to the development of international instruments. The paper suggests that intangible heritage is an important concept because it allows us to expand the concept of heritage beyond buildings, places and objects and to correct an earlier bias towards Western buildings in heritage lists. National instruments should seek to integrate the definition and management of intangible and tangible heritage, however. We should also broaden the definition of intangible heritage beyond the traditional and indigenous to include a wide range of cultural practices. We should include recent, non-traditional, nonethnic forms of heritage such as the oral histories of people who lived under Apartheid or other forms of colonialism. Governments need to devolve greater responsibility for heritage management onto the communities who use, practise or own this heritage. To do this, we need to refine the concepts of ‘community and ‘ownership’ of heritage. Development needs to be more closely linked to heritage management strategies, although funding should not be contingent on the identification of heritage forms.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: intangible heritage; conservation; legal protection; financing; international instruments; legislation; management; criteria; local communities
Subjects: B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 01 Generalities
B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 10 Safeguarding of ICH
H Legal and administrative issues > 01 Generalities
H Legal and administrative issues > 02 International legislation
H Legal and administrative issues > 03 National / Regional legislation
Depositing User: Mr Jose García Vicente
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2022 23:34
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2022 23:34

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