Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO’

Sitar in willing hand: 3rd Workshop in Pune


Stalwarts in music were prone to make a trite remark to a novitiate eager to impress – “Prove through performance not by idle talk”. IMG_4566Often did pupils of Dr. Lalmani Misra hear this remark and were motivated to devote themselves to their art. As Dean, Music & Performing Arts and Fine Arts, he introduced a weekly concert where a teacher and a student were selected to present recital each Thursday. He insisted on breaking the monotony of self-same Riyaz through such innovative practices. Madhukali, in keeping with thought and practices of its mentor, has sought ways and means to energize practice and appreciation of music. To mark the tenth anniversary of UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Madhukali planned this year’s activities to start with teaching of music.  Click here to view a clip of   Workshop in progress

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Preservation: Past in Lap of Future


The young are creative. They are also curious. Access to information has been greatly increased by technology. This is just right for uniting all above for greater preservation and safe-guarding of cultural practices. Barry Schwartz, author of “The Paradox of Choice” suggests ‘gentle nudging’ and empathetic curation to reduce paralysis from excess of choice. This ‘parental wisdom’ already exists in traditional practices. The website of  UNESCO is a great resource of cultural practices across the globe that have been included in Representative list. Ms Cécile Duvelle, Secretary of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage explains essence of the convention.

The criteria referred to in the video-clip form the very basis of UNESCO’s Convention 2003.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova has endorsed recommendations by the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Committee to inscribe 45 new documents and documentary collections from all over the world on the Memory of the World Register, which now numbers a total of 238 items. The recent newsletter reported this observation of Ms. Bokova,

By helping safeguard and share such a varied documentary heritage, UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme reinforces the basis for scholarship and enjoyment of the creative wealth and diversity of human cultures and societies.

Educators, activists and enthusiasts have only to get the youth interested in a single Intangible Cultural Heritage practice in their region; their energy would do the rest. There are ample examples of individual mandate contributing to strength of collective. It only needs a little effort to bring information to their notice. The multimedia web service of UNESCO provides rich resource on its website.

ICH Awareness: Workshop / Conference


India is rich in cultural heritage and is host to numerous practices that have survived for centuries. A large number of agencies are actively engaged in keeping arts and other practices vibrant. However, at all levels the threat to these practices can be felt. Further, there is a large number of those activities which have not received any patronage so far having survived on their own merit up to now. The need for identification of such practices is urgent as is the necessity of charting plans to ensure their continuity.

Madhukali plans to invite academics, bureaucrats from various cultural academies, NGOs, leaders of community practitioners and interested individuals as first level facilitators. As most of them are already associated with cultural practices, they would gain a new viewpoint regarding their activities. Understanding the concepts of Safeguarding they would give us the first list of cultural practices within their domains along with degree of danger to these practices and possible action plans. This shall bring into public domain the state of ICH practices in India.

In the two day workshop-cum-conference a part shall be devoted to explaining the concept, possible lines of action, the process of nomination and evaluation. As exercise the participants might list cultural practices and even suggest plans for action. To motivate genuine commitment and creation of network, experts from various countries shall present case studies of similar practices of their countries, which have been inscribed on Representative List of UNESCO.

Eligible persons may apply to ich at to ascertain their participation. All participants shall have to bring a description of at least one traditional practice with supporting text, graphic, audio or visual material and be ready to present a plan for preservation / promotion of same. To gain better understanding they may consult the kit on intangible cultural heritage,  developed through the generous support of the Government of Norway. Composed of 7 brochures and fact sheets on 12 safeguarding projects, it is a basic reference and pedagogical instrument for promoting and ensuring an effective understanding of intangible cultural heritage and the 2003 Convention by governments, communities, experts, concerned UN agencies, NGOs and interested individuals. It can be downloaded from UNESCO website on ICH

Speech on behalf of participating NGOs at 4COM


Abu Dhabi. October 2nd, 2009

Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee

for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Abu Dhabi, Sept – Oct. 2009

Common statement of NGOs[1]

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

I am Cristina Amescua and I am here to speak on behalf of some 30 NGOs recommend for accreditation, that for purpose of time I shall not mention, their names are on a document available outside, I’d like to sincerely thank our hosts for their warm and generous hospitality. We also want to thank all and each of the members of the Intergovernmental Committee and the Secretariat for their important contribution to the implementation of the convention.

Of course, diversity is what characterizes us: we come from northern and southern organizations. Some of us have been part of the process of the 2003 convention for several years now, but also, some of us are new. We represent organizations that work at the international level as well as others whose realm of action is national and local. It is important for us to include both NGOs and CBOs of the Developing countries. For this we are aware of the capacities we have within ourselves, we think our diversity is our best asset and we want to enhance it.

Safeguarding Heritage: Participants at 4COM, Abu Dhabi

Safeguarding Heritage: Participants at 4COM, Abu Dhabi

We have extensive knowledge and important networks so we can contribute to that. We can add value and also be strategic partners in the challenge of keeping this democratic convention in motion and help the tasks of the Committee and the Secretariat.

We also believe that our involvement can and must go beyond the examination of nominations, for instance, as facilitators in an effort to attain regional balance in civil society representation. In doing so, we can also serve as an interface between UNESCO and the communities at the local level.

We are aware that our level of involvement has to be one that the State Parties feel comfortable with. In order to perform efficient and effective work we need some basic conditions to be fulfilled: some of them are up to us and can be built by ourselves through our already existing capacities, but for some others we need to work jointly with the committee and the secretariat. As enabling factors we suggest the following:

1. In order to enhance the NGO regional balance we look forward to the creation of virtual space for debate, using technological resources in a creative way to ensure that we can continue to build and strengthen the engagement of civil society for the Convention. We request the Secretariat to establish a web based e-group or platform where all NGOs and community-based organizations can also join, and share information, work experiences and activities. In this regard it would be really important to create for the Committee Sessions, a real life internet broadcast. This enables NGOs and community-based organizations that cannot, for whatever reason, attend the next sessions, to communicate live with the entire meeting.

2. We would like to hold a one day forum prior to each Intergovernmental Committee meeting, in order to put the virtual meeting place into a real one and collaborate more closely. This will go a long way to empowering those attending the sessions for the first time.

3. We need State Parties to let us know what is expected from us, and what is actually entailed by accreditation.

4. We want to take an active role in the examiners meetings, so we can offer our experiences and insights and knowledge as practitioners and academics.

This is why the willingness of our hosts today to provide the funding for our participation in this meeting is so important. We therefore urge the organizers of the next sessions to follow this example, thus guaranteeing that all organizations can be part of these important debates, especially from developing countries.

Today October 2, on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we recall in this regard his inspiring words “Be the change you want to see

Thank you Mr Chair.

[1] Association de Nasreddin Hodja et du tourisme, Association nationale Culture et Traditions, Centro UNESCO de Melilla, Chambre des Beaux Arts de Méditerranée, Craft Revival Trust, Extra Moenia, Goa Heritage Action Group, Human Heritage – La enciclopedia del patrimonio cultural inmaterial, ICOM, ICOMOS, ICTM, IDAST, Int. Organisation of Folk Arts, International Social Science Council, Int. Society for Ethnology and Folklore, Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation, Madhukali, Mediterranean Diet Foundation, MUSA, Norwegian Crafts Development, Repriz, SIMBDEA, Tamilnadu Rural Arts Development Centre, The Archival platform, Traditions for Tomorrow, UNESCO Centre for Catalonia, World Crafts Council, World Martial Arts Union,

Madhukali at 4COM


During its third session held in November 2008, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage accepted the offer from the United Arab Emirates to host its fourth session (Decision 3.COM 13). This fourth session will take place in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, from 28 September to 2 October 2009. ICHAbuBg
Madhukali shall be sending its representative to attend this session. It is one of the eleven Indian N.G.O. s invited. More information regarding venue and schedule is given at unesco portal

Veena : Manifestation of Intangibility


Names are like human beings, often helpful but at times deceptive. Ancient most Indian treatise records two kinds of non-percussive instruments – Veena and Venu. Wheras Venu or flute during its evolution changed little, Veena had a hundred avatars. In the twentieth century, when most of the Veena-s had vanished and remaining ones had carved an exclusive niche with unique names, there are still some instruments that despite some changes, have retained both the ancient essence as well as name. Rudra Veena and Vichitra Veena of the North, with slight modifications in design and embellishment are in vogue as Tanjauri Veena and Gottu Vadyam in South. However, the music system remains unchanged despite distinction in form. In India music like painting, theater and poetry has never been separate from ordinary routine of people. All knowledge is dedication of one’s talent, all talent a medium of sublimating one’s ego. Learning Veena is a constant flattening of one’s ego till gain of wisdom.
For full essay visit Omenad.

Clutching the Intangible: Conserving Veena


In a world grappling with material, the concept of imperceptibility, invisibility and intangibility has slowly crept in. More and more activities, products and services are getting virtual. The materialization and later commercialization of music wiped out several traditions of musical practice. The nature of nation, society and family has been drastically overhauled with so-called empowerment of the “individual”. The price of such material empowerment has been paid by the individual in currency of emotional, intellectual and psychological balance. Fortunately, human life is governed by several factors. So while, technology and economic order pushes him in one direction, the local socio-cultural factors tend to retard the pull. There are some who ride the crest, while those in trough serve as anchors. It was decided by the supreme body that culture has an intangible side which needs concrete aid and support in order to maintain the essence of human nature – compassion, camaraderie and creativity. Indian music is best represented by the tradition of Veena-playing which involves performance, scholarship, innovation and crafting. For millenniums, it has retained continuity but the challenge of technology driven economy, which leaves little time to individual, is the toughest. It needs determination and concrete policy to keep Indian music in health.
Visit Omenad for complete article.