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ICH and digital tools: an international seminar

By July 29, 2015August 4th, 2015No Comments

Intangible cultural heritage and digital tools: Passing on, participative management, issues at stake

Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 September 2015 – French centre for intangible cultural heritage (FCICH) – World Cultures Institute – Vitré (35)

Fourth FCICH international seminar in collaboration with Geriico laboratory (Lille III University) with the support of the Directorate General for Heritage, department of research management and scientific policy (ministry of Culture and Communication) A Chonbuk national University (republic of Korea) and UNESCO ITEN University chair (Paris VIII University) partnership.

The intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is protected by the UNESCO 2003 convention. The convention defines ICH as a living, never ending process. The safeguarding of ICH implies community-based, decentralized and participative policies to allow the communities of practitioners to preserve their way of life and pass on their traditions. Therefore, one of the main issues of the convention is to provide new protection and development tools that preserve their dynamic and participative nature.
In this respect digital tools and web 2.0 in particular offer promising perspectives to preserve ICH specificity
while respecting its specificity. Indeed, these tools allow the inventory of several different expressions of the same element (thus respecting the participative nature of ICH), but they also allow further reinterpretations of registered practices (thus respecting the evolving aspect of ICH). Because of their open and participative structure software platform should solve two major issues when it comes to safeguarding: the traditional “top-down” structure of heritage institutions and the risks of simplification or even “fossilization” that do exist
in documentation and archival storage.
In the recent years, software based on the digitization of cultural elements (monuments, museum collections, documents, etc.) became very popular. Experiences have also been led in the ICH field such as i-Treasures (, E.C.H.I (, the korean project ( or the Scottish project ( However the forecasted role of digital tools in ICH safeguarding is not that simple. How can digital tools help to preserve ICH participative and living nature while developing and inventorying it? How to integrate these new applications in institution-led inventories? How to protect the communities’ rights on their elements displayed on the Internet?
These questions will be dealt with during the seminar. Three panel discussions divide the themes.

– Digital technologies and participative management
The new digital tools seem to offer innovative solutions to facilitate the communities’ involvement in the defining of their own ICH. Although experiments are currently underway, they do stumble upon technical, social and ethical issues. How to convince the communities to actually use these new platforms? What are the most adequate technical solutions available? Is it possible to rely on the popular social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube for an institutional safeguarding policy?

– Passing down, development and mediation
New technologies have become the most efficient and reliable tool for heritage documentation and archive management. These tools do not only allow easy conservation and safeguarding, but also provide new opportunities to access and development. The real impact of digital tools on ICH has yet to be determined. What are the challenges the digital projects have to overcome in the ICH development process?

– Ethical and legal issues
In the recent years, ICH safeguarding and development rose several questions about the communities of practitioners’ rights. The protection of these rights became all the more complex as the digital technologies rose in importance, for they do imply their own ethical and legal issues. The crucial point is to find an adequate balance between the authorship and access rights. What are the solutions to adopt in order to protect the practitioners private life without hampering the diffusion possibilities?


Here you can download the Provisional programme:  ICH and digital tools

Click here for the french programme. ;
Centre français du patrimoine culturel immatériel
Maison des Cultures du Monde
Prieuré des Bénédictins
2 rue des Bénédictins – 35500 Vitré (France)
Tél. : +33 (0)2 99 75 48 92



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