Yesterday we hosted our conference, Fighting Fit: Ready for Anything, and we’ve had great feedback from delegates who attended. We’ll have blogs to follow that will give you the low-down on the conference, but, never ones to rest on our collective laurels, we’re very busy behind the scenes lining up our next stimulating event just two weeks after the excitement of the conference.
Museums Galleries Scotland is hosting an international symposium on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) on Wednesday 4 November, entitled For Everyone: The Role of Living Culture in Identities and Sustainable Community Development, at Summerhall in Edinburgh. The symposium will be opened by Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, and the keynote presentation will be delivered by Dr Janet Blake, consultant to UNESCO and contributor to the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is intended to raise awareness of, respect for, and safeguard ICH worldwide.
MGS began to research further into this field in 2007 in response to the development aims of the Scottish museums sector. ICH, or ‘living culture’, relates to much of the tangible culture found in all of our museums. ICH includes the knowledge associated with our collections – some of the Scottish museum sector previously participated in the Revisiting Collections project so this may be familiar – and provides a sense of identity and belonging in relation to our own cultures which in turn promotes respect and understanding for the cultures of others. People play the key role in the creation and carrying forward of ICH and communities, collectively, are the ones who create, carry and transmit ICH.
You may know that MGS has been managing an online inventory with the purpose of cataloguing current or ‘living’ examples of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland (in accordance with the 2003 Convention). The approach to ICH in Scotland is one of inclusivity, which was the starting point for the development of our new website, designed to be a vibrant, living record of ICH practices in Scotland. This online record of Scotland’s ICH is currently being populated by the people most familiar with these traditions: the practitioners themselves.
Our November symposium is a culmination much of our work, both in terms of research and current practice on living culture, and as such Scotland is now of international interest. UNESCO will be attending, with Rita-Mae Hyde as a participant and speaker. It should be a inspiring day, with leading-edge debate and interactive workshops bringing together Scotland’s museum practitioners with international thinkers. We will have other short presentations from Máiréad Nic Craith, Simon Hayhow, Tam McGarvy, Harriet Deacon, Jorijn Neyrinck and Ananya Bhattacharya. The day will be a mix of presentation, Q&A, interactive workshops, networking opportunities and live performances of ICH practice in Scotland so we welcome and encourage active museum participation.
We hope you will be able to join the discussion and debate with us in Edinburgh, and we would be especially grateful if you would be able to pass this information to your networks if appropriate. Spaces for the symposium are still available to museum practitioners by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For those that can’t make it to Scotland we will be live streaming the event, and you can sign up here. We’ll also be providing support materials if you would like to facilitate a workshop remotely and then feedback to the live event.