For the duration of the 2011 Field School, four working groups comprised of 5-6 participants and 2-3 resource persons worked closely with 4 communities in Lamphun Province: Camadevi Monastery, Ton Kaew Monastery Museum, Pratupa Monastery, and Luk Village. Each group had a total of seven fieldwork sessions at their respective sites.
The overarching aim of these fieldwork sessions was to explore the concepts of intangible heritage with the host communities, to learn what aspects of ICH are valued, and to gain an understanding of the possibilities and challenges of safeguarding intangible heritage.
For each of the fieldwork sessions, participants employed anthropological approaches and participatory research methods to learn more about their host community and their intangible heritage, and to identify potential approaches to safeguarding ICH. Research tools included: community cultural mapping, interviews, socio-cultural calendars, stakeholder assessment, and audiovisual documentation (video and photographs).
Final Project Description
Audiovisual documentation of intangible cultural heritage is widely regarded as an important means of safeguarding ICH. First, the documentation and creation of an archive of ICH is a way of ensuring that future generations have the opportunity to learn about their heritage. Secondly, audiovisual documentation can be a valuable tool for promoting awareness and stimulating interest in intangible culture. And thirdly, audiovisual documentation can offer communities a powerful medium for representing themselves to their own communities and the wider world.
And yet, audiovisual documentation also presents of host of challenges and limitations. Audiovisual documentation entails the use of new digital technologies such as digital cameras, camcorders, and computers, thus making this form of documentation more costly than other methods. A/V documentation also requires the development of a system of archiving as well as cultural protocols regarding use and access to the archive. These and other factors may put A/V documentation out of reach for many institutions and communities. Finally, audiovisual documentation of intangible heritage does not guarantee the intergenerational transmission or future viability of knowledge and practices—hence, it is not a substitute for other forms of safeguarding which support the transmission of ICH to future generations.
Our objective for the final project was to explore the possibilities as well as the limits of a/v documentation of ICH with your host community.
The task for each group was to produce a short film (approx. 5 minutes) featuring one element of local intangible cultural heritage, in consultation with the host community. The four films produced by the working groups are available here: