The inventory is one of the most effective tools for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) safeguarding. Through it, communities can better know, identify, and define the main elements that make up their rich heritage. The systematization of this traditional knowledge can contribute to its transmission to the new generation and, finally, the generated knowledge contributes to an awareness of the importance of the intangible heritage for the community directly involved.
It is for these reasons, creating ICH inventories is one of the specific obligations for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, as outlined in the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (link).
However, the inventory process, in terms of collecting and systematizing information, does not guarantee an action to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. To promote ICH safeguarding, it is necessary to assure the bearers of the ICH are the protagonists of this process. In other words, the condition for an inventory to promote ICH safeguarding is community participation in the whole process.
The active participation of the bearers or the practitioners enables partnerships for safeguarding, reinforcing the sense of identity among community members, and contributing to community governance and sustainable development.
Due to the reasons presented, conducting a good inventory is a primary requirement for the planning and implementing of living heritage safeguard actions.
There are many ways to conduct an inventorying process. Here, it is organized into five steps:
Each step presents basic procedures and support materials to help communities and groups organize their own ICH inventory.
The following image presents the steps and the main elements for each:
For more information about inventories:
This module was written by Lucas dos Santos Roque.
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