Intangible Cultural Heritage

Experimenting with participation in dialogue

Community involvement in identifying and researching Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands



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Albert van der Zeijden

Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage / research fellow Intangible Heritage Studies at Utrecht University

MEMORIAMEDIA Review 3. Art.3. 2018



 photo: Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage



The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is well known for its bottom up approaches, with a strong role for “communities, groups and individuals”. Experimenting with participatory approaches should be at the core of intangible safeguarding. Surprisingly enough there is not much documentation on how to involve communities. Drawing from his experience working at the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage (DICH), the author shares his experiences in the Netherlands experimenting with participatory research. That participation implies dialogue also in a broader sense, becomes clear in some of the ethical dilemmas DICH was faced with. On a more theoretical level the article draws its inspiration from the American Public Folklore tradition and from Participatory Action Research, especially in health care.



Keywords: intangible heritage, participatory research, public folklore, the Netherlands