Scoping and mapping intangible cultural heritage in Scotland: final report.

McCleery, Alison, McCleery, Alistair, Gunn, Linda and Hill, David (2008) Scoping and mapping intangible cultural heritage in Scotland: final report. Museums Galleries Scotland. pp. 1-55.

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    The intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of Scotland requires to be accorded a
    status which is equal to that of the material culture of Scotland. If this is not
    currently the case, this in part reflects difficulties inherent in identifying the
    existence of, far less capturing the essence of, something which is not a
    material artefact. The creation of an accurate inventory of ICH in Scotland will
    constitute an important step towards safeguarding its future.
    The nature of ICH in Scotland, while unique thematically and specific
    geographically, nevertheless exhibits a range broadly consistent with the
    generic UNESCO typology, and may be categorised under the headings of
    oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and
    festive events; and traditional craftsmanship. Within this categorisation, an
    inclusive approach to what constitutes ICH in Scotland (as distinct from
    Scottish ICH) is advocated which embraces the customs and practices of wellestablished
    immigrant communities. It is suggested that the touchstone for
    inclusion is the point where selfconscious
    reference to the site of origin has
    been replaced by selfconfident
    expression consistent with the ICH becoming
    embedded in its wider destination context.
    The obverse of this situation also occurs and must be resolved in the context
    of recording and safeguarding ICH in Scotland. This relates to the point at
    which ICH in and for the community is transformed into something outward
    facing and intended primarily for the ‘tourist gaze’. 1 A case in point is
    festivals which may demonstrate aspects of both. With decisions made on
    criteria for eligibility for inclusion in the inventory, the next choice relates to
    finding the most efficient and effective means of identifying ICH on the
    ground. A distinction requires to be made between routes to and sources of
    ICH and the preferred method is to employ a snowballing technique with
    Local Authority staff coordinating and directing the efforts of teams of
    knowledgeable practitioners.
    Finally, a fitforpurpose
    inventory must combine flexibility from the user’s
    perspective with ease of data entry from the compiler’s perspective. It must
    also be database based so that a single change of detail effects change across
    the whole record. After due consideration, the preferred option is identified
    as a restrictedaccess
    Wiki with content being uploaded by authorised
    individuals only. This offers flexibility in terms of data categorisation, using a
    traffic light system for indicating fragility, combined with user friendliness
    both for those creating the inventory and for those wishing to access
    Both in respect of the snowballing method for data gathering and for the
    technical aspects of data entry, basic group training sessions would require to be offered to participating professional coordinators – possibly Local
    This training would be specifically designed to be capable of
    being cascaded to communitybased
    volunteer staff, drawn from ICH
    practitioners on the ground, who could be responsible for gathering the data
    and sorting it in readiness for data entry. The maintenance of any inventory
    will be as critical to the matter of adhering to best practice in the recording of
    ICH as its initial creation. It is recommended that ad hoc updating is paralleled
    with a more methodical stocktaking of ICH in Scotland every few years.
    The establishment of an inventory of ICH in line with UNESCO best practice
    is not, however, a sufficient condition to ensure adequate safeguarding,
    although it does ensure that those examples of ICH most in need of support
    can be identified. However, a specific effort must also be undertaken actively
    to safeguard ICH for the future, and it is recommended that such endeavours
    are best carried out either as communitylevel
    projects or embedded as part
    and parcel of the delivery of the curriculum in schools. If young people are
    progressively involved with the customs and practices of their own cultures,
    through both the curriculum and communitybased
    projects, this is
    undoubtedly the most effective way of promoting a safeguarded ICH in Scotland for the future.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Intangible cultural heritage; scoping; mapping; identity; nationhood; cultural inheritance;
    University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Arts & Creative Industries
    Edinburgh Napier University, Institute for Creative Industries
    Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 306 Culture & institutions
    Library of Congress Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
    Item ID: 3725
    Depositing User: Mrs Lyn Gibson
    Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2010 11:56
    Last Modified: 01 Feb 2013 11:03

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