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Intangible Cultural Heritage under Pressure

By November 26, 2017December 1st, 2017No Comments

Fringe Event to the European Culture Forum

Thursday, 7 December 2017, 7-10 pm, Superstudio, Room „My Own Gallery“, Via Tortona, 27, 20144 Milan

The significance of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is waning in an age of commodification and neo-liberal market developments. This includes traditional dances, knowledge systems, musical performance and the arts, which are handed down from one generation to the next. Natsuko Akagawa, Francesco Francioni and Filomena Sousa will share their insights on local experiences and current international developments in protecting intangible cultural heritage. They will also initiate a public debate on ways of filling potential gaps in existing safeguarding mechanisms.


Background: Within the framework of cultural heritage, intangible goods and knowledge often goes unmentioned, or is undermined in the light of dominant discourses and treatment of commonly acknowledged material cultural goods. In that sense, entire peoples with their indigenous knowledge and minority issues are not afforded equal treatment, which prevents intergenerational transmission and the adequate protection of practices, rituals and oral traditions. Overall, this highlights a form of fragility and vulnerability that, in a broader sense, also jeopardises intercultural dialogue and mutual respect for other ways of life. Interdisciplinary problem-solving mechanisms are thus required to find legislative and political ways of helping to ensure that cultural diversity is not only respected but also maintained and protected.


Dr Natsuko Akagawa, Lecturer, The University of Queensland, Australia

Prof Francesco Francioni, Professor of International Law and Human Rights and Director of the Law Academy, European University Institute, Italy

Dr Filomena Sousa, Researcher, MI/Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, IELT-FCSH/NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal

Moderation: Prof Máiréad Nic Craith, Professor of European Culture and Heritage, Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom

More information about the event online

The talk will be organised and presented by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) and EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture).

Contact: Dr Jessika Eichler, Expert in ifa’s Research Programme “Culture and Foreign Policy”, E:, W:


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