On May 23, 2023 we invite you to participate in a hybrid session on ‘capturing intangible cultural heritage into data: towards a standard for recording living heritage in collection management systems’. The session is organised by the CIDOC Intangible Cultural Heritage Working Group, hosted by Workshop intangible heritage Flanders and ICOM Belgium Flanders in the context of a conference on digital developments at the intersection of intangible heritage and museums.
Museums have a vital interest in contextualising and bringing together all aspects and types of cultural heritage. As such museums have revealed themselves as privileged partners and spaces for contributing to the safeguarding of intangible heritage, supporting a.o. the transmission, care and promotion of intangible heritage.
Thresholds related to ensuring the viability of intangible heritage in museum contexts however are still numerous. Up until today, e.g. museums’ collection management systems are not equipped for registering intangible heritage adequately. Interoperability of data on intangible heritage - often dispersed in diverging inventories - is complicated by the fact that no (inter)national agreed upon standards for recording these data exist and no common methodologies have been developed that take into full consideration the specificities of the participatory and future-oriented spirit of the UNESCO 2003 Convention.
A series of pertinent and practical questions need to be addressed to grasp the layering of issues. We define three working pillars for this purpose. The first is a theoretical one that studies the need and gains for museums in integrating intangible heritage into their operations. The second and third pillars are then rather methodological: in what way is registration organised and what technical solutions exist or need to be developed to integrate this participatory process into museum systems. Here we aspire to come up with solutions for the richly diversified types of organisations. A standard can only be obtained by consensually addressing questions around ownership, collaborative engagement and integration of data.
In this hybrid session on May 23, 2023 we will share insights and experiences developed throughout several years of collaboration in Flanders and in international, mostly European, trajectories on intangible heritage and museums (o.a. the EU-funded ‘ICH and Museums Project’). One of the milestones has been the development of an application profile for recording ICH in collection management systems (the report is currently in the process of translation into English). Two case studies that have experimented with its application will present their findings.
At the same, this session is set up as an open invitation to the global community to add and improve upon this model, and experiment with its contents in a trajectory towards a standard for recording living heritage in museums’ collection management systems. During the CIDOC 2023 Congress, a follow up session of the ICH Working Group will be organised on September 24, 2023.