Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee

This committee aims to integrate Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), as defined by the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and associated Guidelines, into ICOMOS-UK's wide ranging activities relating to the understanding, safeguarding and promotion of heritage, with focus on oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events,knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, traditional craftsmanship, and other areas of arts and heritage practices that emerge in the future which the Committee considers relevant to its work.

Chair: Clara Arokiasamy, OBE  



Thank you from ICOMOS-UK's Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee

The Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Committee’s ‘Passing on Our Intangible Cultural Heritage to Future Generations’ conference, a one-day event, held on 23 March 2019 is another success story for ICOMOS-UK. This was our second conference building on our first seminal conference in 2014 which was equally successful. More than seventy people attended and the conference attracted delegates from a variety of organisations including museums, universities, NGOs representing bearer communities, community groups, funding agencies, heritage agencies from across the UK. Disciplines represented on the day included architect, archaeologists, curators, artists, story tellers, crafts people and many more. We were delighted to see such a cross cutting multi-disciplinary audience with many young professionals (students and professionals) in attendance.
The venue epitomised ICH. Tara Theatre founded in the late 70s is a repurposed church. It started off as a performing space and a producing house for the Asian community. But over the decades it has evolved to embrace other communities and their diverse cultural heritages.
Timothy Curtis from UNESCO kicked off the day with his key note address setting out concepts and approaches to safeguarding as found in the 2003 Convention and Operating Guidelines followed by Clara Arokiasamy, Chair of the ICH Committee, who set out the committee’s advocacy role in raising awareness and catalysing many organisations into promoting ICH. She also highlighted that despite the lack of ratification, the bearer communities and arts and heritage sectors have produced some exemplar models of good practice and identified some pros and cons associated with ratification.
The rest of the day was taken up with some very strong case studies demonstrating the different types of ICH being practiced in the UK presented by some excellent speakers representing various ICH domains/genres. We also had an opportunity to showcase our joint project with Arts Council England (ACE): ‘Exploring Intangible Cultural Heritage in Museum Contexts – Pilot Project’.
Feedback from several participants including one in a summary report format from Professor Grace Lees-Maffei at Hertfordshire University has been positive. 
Here is the link: cultural-heritage. 

Finally, we wish to thank ACE whose funding made the event possible.
The ICH committee hopes to publish the proceedings of the day.


ICOMOS-UK's ICH Committee


Passing on Our Cultural Traditions to Future Generations
A One Day Conference Hosted by the
ICOMOS-UK Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee

Saturday 23 March 2019, Tara Theatre, London

supported by Arts Council England

This second ICOMOS-UK Intangible Cultural Heritage conference, building on the success of the first one (held in 2014), is a response to the need for more information on safeguarding cultural traditions. It has also been informed by an Arts Council supported project implemented in 2016/17 by the Committee on “Exploring Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Museum Contexts”, and by the report’s outcomes and findings published in October 2018. 

Living cultural and social practices are not static: while being transmitted over the centuries from one generation to another, they have continuously evolved in response to events and to changes to their environment. This process has resulted in the demise of some and in the urgent need of the safeguard of others. Questions regarding records and conservation arise: how and why should living heritage be preserved? More importantly, how would the bearers or practicing communities, who are the owners of these cultural traditions, be involved in the process? How can a culturally aware and inclusive framework be created and implemented?

The Conference will be a platform to explore how practicing communities, civil society, arts and heritage organisations can help to promote and pass on our customs and cultural traditions to next generations.

Speakers to include:

- Dr Tim Curtis - Secretary of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Living Heritage Entity, UNESCO Culture Sector  (Paris)

- Marya Burgess - BBC Radio 4 producer for The Listening Project

- Rosy Greenlees, OBE. Executive Director of the Crafts Council since 2006

Location: Tara Arts, 356 Garratt Lane, London SW18 4ES

Date and Time: 23rd of March 2019, 09:30 - 17:00

Tickets' Prices: 

Full price: £75 per person; ICOMOS Members' rate: £65 per person; Student rate: £15 per person

The attendance fee includes lunch, light refreshments and a copy of the publication “Exploring Intangible Cultural Heritage in Museum Contexts. A Pilot Project”.


Email     Telephone 020 7566 0031

Post (using the booking form below): ICOMOS-UK, 70 Cowcross St, London, EC1M 6EL