Accepted Paper:

Collaboration and preservation of intangible heritage: The case of Haining Shadow Play, China  


Yi Fu (Zhejiang University)
Mengting Fei (School of Humanities Zhejiang University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how multiple communities collaborate to construct the Haining Shadow Play as intangible heritage. It argues the audiences take the significant role in preserving Haining Shadow Play. They not only affect the presentation of shadow play but also the policy-making of governments.

Paper long abstract:

Haining Shadow Play has transformed from theatre drama, religious ritual, propaganda performance to UNESCO intangible heritage since the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). As a cultural symbol of Haining, Haining Shadow Play mirrors the local history and constructs the local identities of Haining in Zhejiang, China. Preserving and transmitting Haining Shadow Play in contemporary Haining has become a collective cultural practice or process (Smith, 2006), which reflects the collaborative efforts of multiple communities including policy-makers of governments, heritage experts, shadow play artists, local community and other stakeholders. Based on the fieldwork combined with multiple research methods including direct observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary, this paper explores how multiple communities collaborate with each other to preserve and transmit Haining shadow play. The paper argues the audiences of Haining shadow play, both local residents and tourists, take the significant roles in the process of constructing Haining shadow play as intangible heritage. They not only affect the presentation of shadow play artists, but also affect the policy-making of governments. Thus, this paper also highlights the approach of community participation and tourism bring positive effects to the contemporary practice of intangible heritage.

Panel P063
Heritage, beyond materiality: intangible cultural heritage, collaborative methodologies and imaginations of the future