Accepted Paper:

Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Creative Ecology of Shanghai  


Stuart Walker (Lancaster University)
Martyn Evans (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Jeyon Jung

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents initial results from a UK-China project that investigates and visualises ‘creative ecologies’ of traditional practice. From studies in Shanghai, the project looks at the city’s ‘intangible cultural heritage’. It presents findings along with a series of ‘creative ecology’ models.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents initial findings from a 3-year UK-China research project that investigates and visualises 'creative ecologies' of traditional practice. The project focusses initially on Shanghai's 'intangible cultural heritage', aiming to develop an understanding of the cultural significance of products using the lens of creative ecologies; an analytical model developed by the UK team.

Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), a UNESCO recognised designation, covers the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills and the associated instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces that communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. In an increasingly globalised world, ICH provides communities with a sense of identity and connection to their past, and is a means of promoting cultural diversity. Continually transforming, ICH is recreated by communities and contributes to the vibrancy of place. Its value is derived from the knowledge, skills, traditions and living expressions that are transmitted from one generation to the next.

We present critical insights, developed in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues. We describe how ICH has been recognised, protected and supported; present examples of how ICH is preserved today; and offer an understanding of how ICH can inform a creative ecology for Shanghai that visualises the existing condition, and a 'design ecology' that shows constructive possibilities for design. The research identifies characteristics of ICH in Shanghai, including the physical and aesthetic importance of architecture and 'place'; the role of museums in promoting, training, and sustaining cultural heritage; the recognition of 'old brand' enterprises; and policy level engagement by the regional government.

Panel WIM-CHAT07
Intangible cultural heritage, design ecologies and creative industry