Accepted Paper:

Advocacy, education, transmission & celebration: safeguarding traditional music in Scotland  

Author:

Carley Williams (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

NGOs are key to implementing UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of ICH. Drawing on my fieldwork, I will present a case study of traditional music organisations in Scotland, examining some of the issues and challenges encountered on the ground in the safeguarding processes.

Paper long abstract:

The Operational Guidelines of UNESCO's 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage highlight the role of NGOs in the safeguarding processes and practices at the core of the Convention, and in keeping ICH alive. One might argue they are essential to the successful implementation of the Convention.

Although the UK has not ratified the 2003 Convention, grassroots organisations in Scotland have been performing many safeguarding functions through advocacy, education, transmission and celebration. This presentation will draw on my ethnographic fieldwork to develop a case study of traditional music organisations in Scotland, examining some of the issues and challenges encountered on the ground in the safeguarding processes. I will look at how NGOs might best be supported to continue their work to foster an environment that allows all forms of ICH 'to be created, maintained and transmitted', reflecting Janet Blake's definition of safeguarding, (Blake, 2007, p.3) and how we might facilitate knowledge-exchange from the top down and, more importantly, bottom-up between policy makers, government, NGOs and communities.

My PhD research examines how we might integrate these tried and tested community-led models into a national safeguarding infrastructure. Based in ethnographic fieldwork and placing the voices of the communities and practitioners at the foreground of my work, I aim to reflect Carl Lindahl's statement that 'the work of a folklorist' 'is by definition a work of advocacy,' with an ultimate goal 'to discover, understand and represent people on their own terms'. (Lindahl, 2004, p.175)

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)