Home News


  Print EMAIL help
International Field School Alumni Seminar on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia Pacific

Co-hosted by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) and the International Research Centre for ICH in Asia Pacific Region (IRCI)
Lamphun Province, Thailand
Date: August 6-10, 2012

Download Agenda

Seminar Description

In 2003, UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), which calls upon governments, cultural organizations, and local communities to collaborate in the protection of the oral histories, performing arts, social practices, and local knowledge and skills that constitute a vital source of the world’s cultural diversity. This expansion of heritage management to include intangible culture created an unprecedented demand for analytical expertise and methodological approaches drawn from the discipline of cultural anthropology. This is particularly true in the Asia-Pacific region, where heritage programs have not kept pace with the demand for expertise in intangible heritage management.

In response to this need, and as part of its commitment to the expansion of anthropological research and knowledge in Thailand and the region, in 2009, the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (Public Organization) launched the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School program—a two-week, intensive training program open to recent university graduates, museum practitioners, mid-career professionals, educators, and others involved in the heritage field. Developed in partnership with UNESCO Bangkok and the Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM), the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School program aims to equip participants with both the conceptual and practical tools to actively engage with intangible heritage issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

For three consecutive years since 2009, the SAC's Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School program has offered anthropological frameworks for researching, documenting, and working collaboratively with communities to safeguard their intangible heritage. Through a field practicum with four communities in Lamphun province, participants gained hands-on experience in applying anthropological tools and frameworks to research intangible culture. To date, a total of 55 alumni from across the Asia-Pacific have participated in the Field School.

This year, the SAC is pleased to announce the "2012 International Field School Alumni Seminar on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific." Organized in cooperation with the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific (IRCI) and hosted in Lamphun Province, Thailand, the Field School Alumni Seminar aims to bring together alumni from the Field School to share their experiences on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage via their home institutions. While we aim to showcase the effort to safeguard ICH via the museum (i.e. State, private, community-based and eco-museums), the seminar will also feature the efforts of heritage organizations and academic institutions.

Seminar Participants

Eleven Field School alumni from Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam and China have been invited to present papers which feature case studies and examples of how they used the Field School experience to inform their work back in their home institutions. Papers will explore fieldwork methods that participants have applied to research ICH in their own countries, highlighting one or more aspects of the complex, field-based process of identifying, researching and documenting, promoting, protecting and revitalizing intangible culture. Case studies of co-curation, community collaboration, and sharing authority and decision-making about museum activities and representations are also discussed.

Resource People

In addition to the Field School alumni, the seminar will feature a team of resource persons from museums and heritage institutions in Japan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Resource people will share their own case studies as well as provide substantive guidance and feedback on the participant alumni papers.

Core Objectives

All in all, the seminar aims to grapple with the challenges and implicit contradictions of safeguarding living cultures via the museum and/or heritage institution, i.e. How to support the intergenerational transmission of intangible culture via the museum, and how living practices and peoples tend to become "fossilized" or frozen in the museum, or in “museumizing” contexts.

The seminar will provide a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences among Field School alumni as they apply new methods and approaches to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. A secondary aim is to develop a selection of the submitted papers for future publication of an edited volume.

Location : Lamphun Province, Thailand
Contact : Dr. Alexandra Denes Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre 20 Boromaratchachonnani Road, Taling Chan, Bangk