The international Symposium organised by Museums Galleries Scotland brings together prominent members of UNESCO, the Scottish Government, museums and other Scottish cultural organisations to discuss intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and its relationship with human rights.

The mission statement declares that cultural heritage includes the traditions or living expressions of groups and communities such as oral traditions, performing arts, festive events and knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. ICH it states is a living form of heritage which is continuously recreated and which evolves as communities adapt their practices and traditions in response to their environment.

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symposium
Joanne Orr, CEO, Museums Galleries Scotland; Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop; Rita-Mae Hyde, Assistant Programme Specialist in the Capacity Building and Heritage Policies Unit of the ICH Section of UNESCO; Dr Janet Blake, consultant to UNESCO.

The symposium will explore ICH and its relationship to identities, sustainable community development and human rights.  It is the first event if it’s kind to take place in the UK.  The event will be livestreamed and people are being encouraged to take part in the discussions online.

The event will also feature performances of Scottish ICH from singers and storytellers and a puppet performance of the Galoshins by Shane Connolly of Sokobauno Puppet Theatre and musician/performer Stan Reeves. Galoshins is a traditional folk drama from Scotland and was usually performed as a house-visiting custom by groups of children around Hallowe’en.

“Scotland is making a major contribution to the development of ICH best practice,” said Joanne Orr, Chief Executive Officer of Museums Galleries Scotland. “The event today offers a really remarkable and important opportunity to progress global thinking on this living culture and to highlight its importance to the lives of people and communities in Scotland and across the world.”

Speakers include Rita-Mae Hyde, Assistant Programme Specialist in the Capacity Building and Heritage Policies Unit of the ICH Section of UNESCO and Dr Janet Blake, consultant to UNESCO and contributor to the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“This symposium is highly relevant and comes at a pertinent time as we embrace the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and work hand in hand to realize the future we want for all. It is unquestionable the role of intangible cultural heritage as enabler of community and sustainable development,” said Rita-Mae Hyde, Assistant Programme Specialist in the Capacity Building and Heritage Policies Unit of the ICH Section of UNESCO.

Museums Galleries Scotland has redeveloped an online inventory of ICH practices in Scotland and is asking people to contribute examples to the website.

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