Implementation of an online inventory of ICH in Scotland

Lead Research Organisation: Edinburgh Napier University
Department Name: School of Life, Sport & Social Sciences


This proposed project is concerned with the conserving and recording of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland. ICH means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledges and skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated with them - that communities, groups and in some cases individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage: fire festivals to the Mela, knitting techniques to haggis pakora, ceilidhs to boat-building skills. This ICH, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. A research team from Napier University has already completed a study, in partnership with Museums Galleries Scotland, designed to identify the best way of ensuring that ICH in Scotland is recorded and safeguarded. While the results of this study are in the process of being disseminated throughout the museums and academic communities, what is critically important is that the methods identified by the team - which comply with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's best practice advice for dealing with ICH matters - is now rolled out throughout Scotland for the better protection of ICH and the benefit of the general public, which will be able to have access to the valuable new source of ICH information thus created.

The identified methods of conserving and recording ICH involve the training of a combined team of volunteers and professionals, management of which will be coordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland, as this organisation already has a great deal of experience in the conservation of the artefacts which make up the tangible cultural heritage (TCH) and which are closely associated with the intangible cultural heritage (ICH). For example, in the case of a local festival (ICH) dances which may be performed are closely related to the costumes which people are wearing (TCH) while performing these dances. Within each local authority, professional officers, such as arts outreach officers and community education officers, as well as museums professionals managed by a coordinator at Museums Galleries Scotland, will interact with volunteers on the ground in the area. These volunteers will be practitioners of various types of ICH (festival participants, regional cuisine exponents, story tellers etc) in order to assemble the body of knowledge and understanding of ICH which requires to be recorded and safeguarded for the future.

In order to establish what will represent a very large text and image-based online inventory, necessary training for both volunteers and professionals will be provided. This will ensure that a proposed staged handover of the inventory, together with the responsibility for managing, maintaining and editing it, will be possible within the three-year timetable of the collaborative project. This in turn will ensure that not only does the public benefit from easy computer access to a high-quality and comprehensive inventory of ICH in Scotland, but also that the people who will look after that inventory are provided with the skills and understanding to be able to carry out the imoprtant task of maintaining the inventory in the best possible way to the best of their ability. Whether they are volunteers or professionals, they will be able to take pride in what they are doing for the good of their community and society more generally.


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Description The objective of the project was to establish, test and roll out a method of safeguarding and recording Intangible Cultural Heritage across Scotland, working in partnership with Museums Galleries Scotland as well as with local authorities and the voluntary sector
Exploitation Route Findings will be of practical use to tourist authorities and providers
Sectors Creative Economy

Description Findings were noted by Creative Scotland who awarded additional funding to carry out a further piece of research
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

Description arts support funding
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Funding ID CSL12-03245/LI11728 
Organisation Creative Scotland 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2012 
End 11/2013